Mafia shadow on the Italian food business – Economic implications

An Italian Parliamentary inquiry Commission released on January a report in which concluded that food sector in Italy is worth € 12,5 billion to criminal groups.

It concluded also that “mafia” is infiltrated at every level of the food chain, from the producers to the supermarket. The principal activity is the trade of counterfeit Italian products, and criminal groups are a plague also in the transport business.

Coldiretti, an Italian farmers association, said that fruit and vegetable prices are almost tripled by these hidden costs. The Italian Authorities controls on foodstuff are very strict, but I think that this could be a good premise for another “horse meat scandal” or similar.

Why in our country “Italian” seems to be synonym of “quality”? Is this assumption always true?

The Italian agriculture and food industry each year suffer of an estimated loss of 60 billion € worth, caused by poor quality foreign food that masquerades as top-quality Italian brands, ranging from cheese to ham to wine.

Italy’s total agricultural and food processing industry is estimated at 300 billion € per year, not including farmland sales, transport or retail parts of the food trade. You can see how relevant is the damage  to our economy and how much are we paying for these hidden costs.

Exports of Italian food and agricultural products could triple if radical action were taken against falsified products, in the opinion of Coldiretti, an Italian Farmer Association.

I don’t know if what Coldiretti says it’s really accurate, but before exporting the idea of  “Made in Italy” as synonym of quality, maybe we have to take some radical action against such phenomena.

One thought on “Mafia shadow on the Italian food business – Economic implications

  1. Very interesting Cesare. Even here in Australia, products labeled “Made in Italy” are seen to represent quality and do command a higher price.

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