Mozzarella scare blamed on Italian waste crisis


image: Salvatore Laporta/Associated Press

Italy’s waste crisis is being blamed for the contamination scare surrounding their much loved mozzarella.

Italy sought to allay fears on Wednesday over high dioxin levels found in the milk used to make the country’s famed buffalo mozzarella, after Japan and South Korea banned imports of the cheese.

The high dioxin levels are claimed to have been caused by the burning of tonnes of rubbish left on the streets of Naples during the recent waste crisis. The fallout from the burning of waste is believed to have fallen on surrounding farm land where the buffalo graze.

The European Commission meanwhile asked Rome to provide information urgently on possible dioxin contamination, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“Yesterday we asked the Italian authorities to provide all the available information and we await a reply today or tomorrow at the latest,” a commission spokeswoman said, adding her own call for the public to remain calm.

Italy produces 33,000 tonnes of mozzarella per year from the milk of some 250,000 buffalo. Eighty percent is made in Campania, which is Italy’s poorest region

Sales in Italy have already fallen by 30 to 35 percent, according to the body that oversees the product.


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