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Farmers, producers slam 'anti-Southern' Pomì tomato ad

'Made in Italy' is one and indivisible, says agriculture min

04 November, 19:42
Farmers, producers slam 'anti-Southern' Pomì tomato ad (ANSA) - Rome, November 4 - Producers' associations and even a government minister on Monday berated an ad by Pomì tomato sauce company that says its produce comes only from Italy's North, and not from the heavily polluted South.

"We firmly condemn such ads, which seriously damage the entire Southern canned vegetable sector, particularly in the Campania (region),'' said canned vegetables employers association ANICAV, whose membership represents 50% of all Italian processed-tomato producers.

Recent media reports have said Italian consumers are being fed contaminated produce laced with toxins from the so-called Land of Fires, a term coined by crusading anti-Mafia writer Roberto Saviano to describe a stretch of farmland lying between Naples and Caserta that is constantly dotted with burning trash fires.

''Most tomatoes are actually grown in the Puglia region.

The recent environmental issues regard an area that represents just 3.85% of fresh tomato processing in Italy'', ANICAV added.

''There are no 'good' or 'bad' tomatoes in Italy. In fact, 100% of processed Italian tomatoes have passed mandatory health ministry chemical residue testing'', added Coldiretti, which represents one million Italian farmers.

Italy has the cleanest bill of health in Europe and the world in terms of food safety. Just 0.3% of national products tested above the chemical residue limit, against an average of 1.5% in Europe and 7.9% outside the EU, Coldiretti pointed out.

''Someone once posited the question of whether the tomato is left- or right-wing. Now we even have 'ethnic' tomato discrimination: it seems to me that common sense is being scuttled'', commented Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies Nunzia De Girolamo (People of Freedom - PdL).

"'Made in Italy' production is one and indivisible, and if anyone thinks they can access international markets based on a provincial identity then they live in a world that no longer exists'', the minister added.

"Perhaps that company did not realize the extremely serious damage it has done thousands of honest producers, who overcome a thousand obstacles on a daily basis to guarantee a healthy product. They should apologize to workers first, and then to consumers''..