All over the world, Made in Italy is synonymous of quality and genuineness, especially when it comes to agro-foods. It is by no means a coincidence that we have witnessed in recent years a full-scale boom in exports of these products, increasing not only the value of fresh and delicatessen meat production, but also the number of PDO and PGI marks that have helped Italy become a leader on an EU scale. Every year, 1.27 million certified products are made. Of these, more than one third is exported, worth 2.4 billion euros.
These new trends are undoubtedly encouraged by new export-oriented policies, especially as regards non-EU countries. The most significant recent measures include the re-opening of the US market to beef-based products from Europe, particularly from Ireland, after 15 years of stoppage. Imports of beef into the USA, even off the bone, were banned in 1998 because of repeated cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Bse), better known as mad cow disease. However, efforts made in recent years by EU countries as regards controls carried out on livestock in question have ensured that a risk status equal to or better than the majority of other producers.
Staying in the USA, four supreme Made in Italy products still dominate tables thanks to the new edition of the “Legends from Europe” project: for the second consecutive three-year period, Parma Ham, San Daniele Ham, Parmesan Cheese and Montasio Cheese are being promoted on the US market in order to help raise awareness of the quality and authenticity of European PDO products. “Over and above promoting the product and its excellent qualities, our main challenge abroad is to overcome a cultural gap and promote the PDO concept and everything associated with it, namely the importance of the entire Italian value chain, strict traceability and the production of completely natural products. It is important to develop a system with other Italian PDO products, as in this project. We have a priceless heritage which should be defended and promoted appropriately,” was the comment to Eurocarne Post made by Paolo Tanara, President of the Parma Ham Consortium.
Not only the United States. There is also good news on the other side of the Atlantic from Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has given the go-ahead for distribution in the country of fresh pork, eliminating the minimum seasoning period required for delicatessen product exports. This is an important decision, since the Canadian market is one of the most strategic for exporting Made in Italy excellence. It only need be mentioned that from 2008 to 2013, thanks initially to acceptance of products seasoned for 90 days and later for at least 30 days, a 60.8% increase was achieved, to a total of 791 tonnes of Italian delicatessen meats for turnover of 8.4 million euros.
Very close attention is being paid, however, especially as regards the poultry sector, to TTIP developments (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) – the agreement between the United States and the European Union which, among the most heatedly discussed aspects, includes product controls designed to eliminate risks for consumers. What prospects may the sector be called upon to face? “It is very difficult to make linear comparisons between the European and US poultry sectors as regards microbiological criteria,” Eurocarne Post heard from Nicolò Cinotti Technical Health Area of Unaitalia, “since approaches to food safety, production systems and resources available to companies to ensure the consumer safety are completely different”.
Source: Eurocarne Outlook