Is the Chinese government on a warpath of revenge? After enduring an embarrassing year of recalls and bans that left the “Made in China” tag-line in serious need of rehab, it appears that officials are eager to jump on any reason to have the tables turned. After Italy identified higher than acceptable amounts of dioxin in some mozzarella cheese made in the southern Campania region, the folks at the always busy Administration for Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (or as we like to call them, “Irony and Whine”) have put a ban on mozzarella imports from Italy, with other Italian cheeses required to go through lab tests before they’re allowed in. From the International Herald Tribune:
Agriculture Minister Paolo De Castro said Italy has no direct exports to China, according to the ANSA news agency. “We are trying to understand the circumstances of this ban,” De Castro was quoted as saying.
Italian farmers associations denounced the ban from China, with some pointing out that Chinese exports were tainted by a series of food and product safety scandals last year.
“Adding insult to injury the ban … is decided by a country like China whose exports have created alarm across the world,” said the Coldiretti group.
We feel for the Coldiretti group, one of the aforementioned farmers associations, who undoubtedly feel like the kettle to China’s chemically-blackened pot. We were also intrigued by Minister De Castro’s claim that Italy has no direct exports to China. If he’s right, where the hell have we been getting our mozzarella from? If any of you cheese whizzes know, please comment below.
Photo taken from the site 365cheeses.
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.