Italian Cheesemakers Crack Down on Cheese Fraud


Cheesemakers are fighting back against cheese fraudsters by using new technology to track their cheese wheels.

Although throughout Europe, regulations for Parmigiano Reggiano and parmesan are strictly controlled, elsewhere in the world, that isn’t the case. The name Parmigiano Reggiano is still controlled, but similar cheeses can be called parmesan even though they’re not.

The Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano (CFPR) announced a partnership with Kaasmerk Matec and p-Chip Corporation to launch a line of food-safe and secure traceability digital labels for its Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheels.

The new technology will be able to deliver unseen levels of traceability, track and control inventory, product authentication, product serialization, quality assurance and consumer safety.

According to the CFPR, sales of authentic Parmigiano Reggiano and parmesan cheese amount to around $2.5 million every year. They also stated that the market of fake cheese and other parmesan-like cheese sold under that official title without being procured in approved regions is around $2.1 million annually.

The new smart digital food labels will be added to around 100,000 CFPR bulk cheese wheels throughout the second quarter of 2022. This represents the final phase of large-scale “testing” before evaluating the possibility of extending this technology to the entire production of Parmigiano Reggiano.

“Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the world’s oldest and most famous cheeses, and it is a product that symbolizes Italian produce. By being the first to incorporate these secure digital labels onto our cheese wheels, we can continue to ensure consumer safety, bringing the traceability and the authentication of our products to meet industry 4.0 technological targets,” CFPR President Nicola Bertinelli said.


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