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March 7, 2021

Counterfeit “Italian” products, main topic at Italian Wine and Food Day

Italian Sounding was the main topic of the conference at the Italian Wine and Food Day, an event that took place in Bucharest on Wednesday, May 25, as part of the eighth edition of the Italian Festival occasioned by the Italian National Day (June 2).

Italian Sounding represents a deleterious phenomenon that consists of the marketing of certain products produced worldwide but featuring Italian labels, symbols, colours and packaging.

“This disloyal practice and the counterfeiting of agro-food products are two constantly-growing phenomena whose effect is the tricking of the end consumer. The estimated turnover of Made in Italy counterfeits is around EUR 60 bln worldwide (EUR 164 M per day), of which EUR 23 bln in Europe alone,” according to the “Italian Sounding in Romanian Food Retail Sector Fact-finding Report” presented by the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Romania.

Basically, 50,000 Italian companies have closed down because of these disloyal practices, and 300,000 jobs would be available if the Italian Sounding phenomenon were to be efficiently tackled.

Most of the products on the list of counterfeit products are wine, olive oil, pasta, sauces, dairy (mozzarella in particular), breadstuffs, meat and salamis.

The main reason why Made in Italy counterfeits are selling in Romania is the fact that they are cheaper than original products and purchasing power in Romania is smaller than in Italy or other more economically advanced countries. Still, Dimache warned, this comes along with the risk of consuming products of significantly inferior quality. He also warned that high-quality original Italian products are only found in limited areas, mainly in authentic Italian restaurants, and less so in areas dominated by products for mass consumption.

Adrian Dimache (photo), Secretary General of the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Romania, presented some of the counterfeit products found on Romanian store shelves. Apart from the fact that they were produced in countries other than Italy, they contained ingredients that are not typical for the original products they imitate, and they lacked specific elements on their packaging. In a symbolic gesture, Dimache threw counterfeit products in a trash bin labelled “The real consumer of counterfeit products.”

Adrian Dimache warned all consumers to inform themselves and carefully read the labels before buying. The essential elements that should be found on the label are PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), TSG (Traditional Specialities Guaranteed) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication).

Over 150 participants, importers, distributors and buyers from large retail chains, Ho.Re.Ca, gastronomy stores and wine bars enjoyed the inimitable taste of Made in Italy foodstuffs and wine, at the Italian Wine and Food Day event organised by the Italian Agency for Foreign Trade Bucharest and the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Romania under the patronage of the Italian Embassy.

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