Italians try to guard restaurant quality
Thursday 29th August 2002 14:48
Italy is setting up an agency intended to control the authenticity of Italian restaurants abroad in a bid to fight "dirty competition".
Giovanni Alemanno, Italy's agriculture minister, said: "Hundreds of Italian restaurants spring up around the world every day that have nothing to do with Italy except for their names and the tricolour flag on display outside. We are dealing with some very dirty competition."
To get a certificate of approval from the agency, which launches next month, a restaurant will have to use ingredients that, at least in part, come from Italy. The agency will also work to protect trademarked foods, such as Modena's balsamic vinegar and Parma ham, from imitations.
Gennaro D'Urso, co-owner of London's Passione restaurant, said that the scheme would reassure customers about the authenticity of ingredients and help keep standards high. But he added: "They will have to prove they know how to do it properly, without upsetting anyone."
With huge numbers of Italian restaurants worldwide, administration of the scheme could prove demanding.