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Italian cheese production hit hard by earthquake

First losses estimated 200-250 million euros

23 May, 12:26
Italian cheese production hit hard by earthquake

(ANSA) - Rome, May 22 - At least 10% of the production of Italy's prestigious Parmigiano Reggiano cheese was destroyed by Sunday's earthquake that shook the region of Emilia-Romagna, killing seven, reported the farmers' association Coldiretti on Tuesday. Some 300,000 Parmigiano Reggiano wheels were lost in and near the town of Modena when aging racks collapsed. Grana Padano, another famous Italian cheese produced in the province of Mantua, lost 100,000 wheels, or 2% of its total production. Damages to Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano producers so far are estimated at 200-250 million euros, a "conservative number," said Stefano Berni, head the Grana Padano consortium.

Premier Mario Monti said Tuesday that taxes may be suspended in the areas of Emilia-Romagna hit by Sunday's deadly earthquake and that his government will declare a state of emergency later on Tuesday.