Production of counterfeited Italian cheeses in the USA increased by 4% this year. According to Italy’s farmers association Coldiretti, this is also due to the difficulties of the authentic Made in Italy cheeses given the additional duties applied in September by the Trump administration. “The lobby of the U.S. dairy industry (CCFN) benefits from this situation – underlines Coldiretti – as it had explicitly asked in a recent letter to impose taxes on imports of European cheeses in order to favour the local industry of counterfeiting”.
THE BIG BUSINESS OF COUNTERFEITING
In any case, it is a fact that counterfeited dairy products sales have seen exponential growth in the USA in the last 30 years, reaching a total of 2.5 billion kg in 2018, almost two third of which made in Wisconsin and California. At the top of the ranking there is fake mozzarella with 1.97 billion kilos per year, followed by “parmesan” with 192 million kg, provolone (181 million), ricotta (113) and Pecorino Romano (25 million kilos made without sheep’s milk).
DUTIES, AN EVER-INCREASING RISK
In the event of an increase from 25% to 100% of tariffs applied to Italian food already included in the U.S. Trade Representative (Ustr) blacklist, cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, Gorgonzola, Asiago, Fontina, and Provolone would be completely out of the market in the United States. A serious harm, given that USA market ranks third among the main Italian food buyers after Germany and France.