New York Times: cartoons tell the suicide of Italian Oil

New York Times: cartoons tell the suicide of Italian Oil

New York Times: cartoons tell the suicide of Italian Oil

The New York Times hits Italian oil where it hurts: counterfeiting.

An interactive comic strip of 15 images reports the production of fake Italian extra virgin olive oil that actually comes from Spain, Morocco and Tunisia. The comics says that 69% of the bottles of extra virgin exported from Italy are counterfeit. The images of the New York Times mock deeply the deceits of fake made in Italy and denounce them as the suicide of Italian olive oil.

The NYT denounces the “Extra Virgin Suicide”

15 complete drawings accompanied by brief captions sketching the routes of counterfeit and painting the production of Italian extra virgin olive oil run by crooks covered by politicians, who import oil from abroad, to adulterate it, and then to claim it as made in Italy.

The tone of the infographics is really sarcastic, the title is “Extra Virgin Suicide”, the author Nicholas Blechman is exactly the art director of the New York Times Book Review.

Blechman, to create his comics, was inspired by Truth in Olive Oil edited by Tom Mueller:

The prestigious international journal comes to say that the majority of “Italian” olive oil is actually from Spain, Morocco and Tunisia.

The cartoons explain that Italy is the world’s largest importer of oil and it is in Italy that oil is blended, treated with beta–carotene to disguise the flavor and chlorophyll for giving it the green color.

Then, the adulterated oil would be bottled and labeled as extra virgin Made in Italy. Even the intervention of a special branch of the Carabinieri, who has the task to find food scams, can not do its job because many manufacturers claim their links with politicians. Results: Italian oil is committing suicide, word of New York Times.

Very harsh reaction in Italy

For Tulio Marcelli, President of Coldiretti Tuscany «cartoons will have a negative effect on the image and sales of our products abroad. Unfortunately, the New York Times reports with strength and effectiveness a situation that we all know very well, including politicians, but to which probably they do not want to give a clear answer».

The comment by Marcelli is harsh: «I feel anger, but also much sadness, as an entrepreneur and as a producer because this is the defeat of agriculture in our region, of honest people, of entrepreneurs who produce with passion, love and respect for the consumer. It is an injury to Italy and all Italians. The credibility and reliability of the most important agriculture industry in the world was called into question».

«The accusations in the New York Times make clear that the real Made in Italy is targeted – Massimo Gargano, chairman of Unaprol, said to ANSA – but we need to see clearly because the accusations to our made in Italy do not relate the real extra virgin olive oil produced in Italy but rather what is being passed off fraudulently as made in Italy in the U.S. and not only. That of counterfeiting is a problem that affects not only oil but also pizza and pasta, that go hand in hand with the Italian sounding. In Italy, and now also in Europe – highlights Gargano. In Italy – the president of the consortium of oil says – thanks to the collaboration with the Unaprol institutions, in the last 3 years more than 300 new tasters have been trained, among Nas Carabinieri, Nac, the State Forestry Corps, the Finance Police and the Central Inspectorate for the Control of quality and the fight against fraud. The accusations against fake products, that are being peddled not only in the U.S. but also recently in Taiwan as made in Italy, hurt the real Made in Italy. Of all this and on how to secure the true Italian oil we will discuss on Wednesday morning in the press room of the Chamber of Deputies. It will be also an opportunity to shed light on some gray areas, including a certain way of doing information that sometimes, with a perfect synchronism, turns the spotlight more to blind you than to shed some light».

Extra Virgin: the oil–saving law

Italy is the second largest producer of olive oil and is also the world’s largest importer. The turnover of the sector is estimated at 2 billion Euros and employs labor for 50 million working days. Italian exports of olive oil in 2013 totaled over 1.2 billion Euro.

Coldiretti has promoted, and made approve in February 2013, the so–called oil–saving law for the prevention of fraud and the exploitation of the real made in Italy, but it is not yet fully operational.

The Italian Parliament, with the ongoing discussion on the Community law, may approve an amendment to respond to the European Union and to give effect to the norm. Italy has a valuable opportunity to rebuild his international credibility and to protect the market of a leading economic, employing and environmental industry.

“Extra Virgin Suicide” by the New York Times, Author Nicholas Blechman, art director of the New York Times Book Review.



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New York Times: cartoons tell the suicide of Italian Oil