In How to recognize fake Italian food (Part 1), I explained how to spot real Italian food from quality labels. Today, I want to focus, instead, on how to recognize authentic Italian food just looking at traditional food labels.
When Italians go to supermarkets they generally prefer buying products that have been produced, processed and prepared in Italy. Indeed, Italian products are usually subjected to specific controls that assure both their quality and citizens’ health.
To help Italian citizens – and foreigners too – to understand where a product comes from, the government decided to oblige producers to write specific information on food labels.
Information shown on labels may change according to the type of food. However, in general products must show:
• the name of the product;
• the list of ingredients;
• the substances causing allergies or intolerances (nuts, milk, mustard, fish, grains containing gluten, etc.);
• the quantity of certain ingredients or categories of ingredients;
• the net quantity of the food;
• the date of minimum durability or the ‘use by’ date;
• any special storage conditions and/or conditions of use;
• the name or business name and address of the producer;
• the country of origin or place of provenance;
• instructions for use where it would be difficult to make appropriate use of the food in the absence of such instructions;
• for beverages containing more than 1.2 % by volume of alcohol, the actual alcoholic strength by volume;
• a nutritional declaration.
As an example I provide some photos of the label of a famous Italian tomato sauce producer:
The most important information you can find on the label, the one that allows you to know if the product you’re buying is really Italian, is the country where the product has been produced. The list of ingredients, instead, allows the consumer to know exactly what s/he is going to eat.
TU SUM UP…TO RECOGNIZE AUTHENTIC ITALIAN FOOD
- don’t trust labels simply because they have slogans such as authentic Italian flavor, taste of Italy, and so on;
- search for quality labels – DOP, IGP, DOC, DOCG;
- search for the country of production on traditional labels;
- check the price. Authentic Italian food is generally charged more than fake Italian food.