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Over 140 countries signed on to Milan Expo 2015

Focus on food to boost participation, organizers say

10 March, 16:03
Over 140 countries signed on to Milan Expo 2015 (ANSA) - Rome, March 10 - Milan Expo 2015 Commissioner Giuseppe Sala on Monday said so far 144 countries have signed on as official participants in the food-themed world's fair next year.

"We are very satisfied with the level of participation," he said at the presentation of a protocol of agreement for the participation of the Italian food and beverage industry.

Organizers were aiming to reach at least 130 member countries and are now on pace to sign up considerably more than that.

He also expressed the hope that one large player, the United States, will sign up for the Expo with the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama on March 27.

Sala said the Expo's focus on food was aimed at convincing Italians and foreigners to attend Expo 2015 though "the contents of the event are the responsibility of different countries; today, for example, we received the adhesion of Grenada, the Caribbean island which is the queen of spices".

The Italian pavilion will put wine under the spotlight, Sala explained, stressing that Expo "is not a commercial fair but is aimed at discovering the qualities of different countries".

Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina, Commissioner Sala and General Commissioner for the Italian Pavilion Diana Bracco on Monday signed a protocol enabling the Italian food and beverage industry to take part in the world's fair dedicated to sustainable nutrition around the globe.

The theme of Expo 2015, "Feeding the Planet - Energy for Life", centers on fighting famine and malnutrition worldwide through sustainable and healthy development, global cooperation and new technology.

Education Minister Stefania Giacomini on Monday said the Fair will be an opportunity to promote healthy eating habits in schools "and lower the dramatic obesity rates recorded in Italy and Europe".

"We need to make youths understand that it is necessary to eat well, as well as not overeat," she said.

Expo 2015, which runs May 1 until October 31 that year, is expected to attract over 20 million visitors and to be a massive money spinner for Italy's business capital.

Italy last hosted a world's fair in 1992 with a Christopher Columbus-themed Expo in Genoa.