“The alarmist headlines about a blockade of Grana Padano PDO imports in Greece are putting us in great difficulty. Moreover, the news is unfounded and false, and contributing to a misperception of the current situation by foreign states. Commercial relations with Greece continue.” With these words Stefano Berni, general director of the Grana Padano PDO protection Consortium, commented on some headlines regarding the (non-existent) request by Greece for a ‘coronavirus free’ certification to a Grana Padano Consortium’s associated company.
More than 1,600,000 cheese wheels were exported to Europe in 2018, and just over 41,000 of these to Greece (2.57%).
THE SAFETY OF GRANA PADANO PDO
“Grana Padano cheese wheels that people can buy today – said Berni – have no problems at all. They have been produced over 10 months ago when Covid-19 did not yet exist. Cheese wheels produced today will not be consumed before next December. Moreover, the biological conditions of maturation of Grana Padano cheese, as of any other matured product, inactivate any type of virus. Coronavirus can exclusively be transmitted from man to man and not through other types of contacts, as the European Food Safety Authority, a body of the EU to which Greece itself belongs, has pointed out in an official statement. In fact, it is quite clear that there is no logical sense or scientific basis for a certification as that of ‘virus free’ referring to any product”.
NO NEED FOR ‘CORONAVIRUS FREE’ CERTIFICATIONS
The Italian Minister of Agriculture, Teresa Bellanova, described the requests for certification on the safety of Italian food as “clumsy speculation attempts between trading partners, that would not involve governments.”
On Friday evening, the Greek embassy in Rome announced that the Greek authorities had issued no directive regarding the need for certificates on imported Grana Padano PDO cheese. The European Commission wanted to stress that the coronavirus is not transmitted through food and that restrictive measures on trade in food products are not therefore justified.