Naples - The mozzarella 'war' between Campania and Puglia sparked by the publication in the Gazzetta Ufficiale of the authorization of a DOP protected origin certificate for the mozzarella 'Treccia di Gioia del Colle' is going to last for at least 30 days from August 28, the date on which the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture was officially announced. This is the period of time that must lapsein order to allow all parties to organize and document an appeal against the registration of this new DOP certification.When 30 days have passed, the proposal is notified and registered by EU organisms. The cause of the dispute concerns the right to use the EU DOP symbol(PDO in English) which would appear both on the protected origin of buffalo mozzarella from Campania and the specialty from Puglia, made with cows milk from the Murgia area. The Campania Regional government and the Consortium for protecting Campania buffalo mozzarella intend to prevent this from happening, through the courts if necessary, and are seeking a meeting with the Minister to discuss the matter.
"Whatever about legal appeals and actions in the law courts, what we are requesting now is an encounter between the Regione Campania, the Regione Puglia (also part of our DOP in part of its Province of Foggia) and the Minister, in order to find a solution acceptable for all, and to avoid conflicts and creating confusion for consumers", declares the President of the Consortium, Domenico Raimondo. The Puglia Regions Agricultural Coordinator, Leonardo Di Gioia, does not believe "that one can foresee such dramatic damage being caused to a sector as important that of Campania." "We will support and defend the decisions of mozzarella producers in Puglia, but instead of fighting each other, we ought to be trying to conquer markets, to create opportunities for everyone", he says. But the Campania Consortium, has requested access to official documents, to understand when and why between 2011 and today the request for protection has switched from the collective brand 'Braided mozzarella from Murgia and the Trullis to 'Mozzarella from Gioia del Colle'.
The problem is, the use of the word 'mozzarella cannot legally be protected by exclusivity certificates, and this, together with such an important brand logo as the EUs DOP, can easily transmit to a poorly informed consumer in a hurry the false conviction that mozzarella from Gioia del Colle is made from buffalo milk. Actually, in the Province of Foggia, there is a cheese maker that is part of the Campania DOP.The economic prize at stake is no small matter. The Campania Consortium, for example, produced and sold 44,270 tons of mozzarella in 2016, a 7% rise on 2015, and forecasts concluding 2017 with a further 8 or 9% rise. In two years, in other words, its sales will have increased by 15%, making it the only agro-food product to deliver such growth in a period of crisis. And Buffalo Mozzarella is increasingly seducing foreign markets too: in 2016 exports accounted for 32% of total production, notching up a 10% increase on 2015... mostly finishing up on French, German and British tables. A market worth some 500 million euro. Figures which braided and knotted products from Puglia can only dream about.