Home Health Parmigiano, symbol of Italian excellence, becomes hi-tech

Parmigiano, symbol of Italian excellence, becomes hi-tech

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Parmigiano, symbol of Italian excellence, becomes hi-tech

According to Coldiretti the production of fake Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano in the world surpassed that of the originals for the first time. They range from fake vegan parmesan to parmesan winner even of the title of best cheese in the USA to what comes from Russia, al parmesan cheese Brazilian, al reggianito argentino and al parmesan perfectItalian but made in Australia.

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Counterfeiting has a huge economic value. The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium estimates that the turnover of the fake parmesan, considering only the non-EU area, is equal to 2 billion euros, that is to say about 200,000 tons (15 times the volume of Parmigiano Reggiano Dop exported). It is therefore inevitable that we try to run for cover. A casein plate has been introduced since 2002 and is inserted in any form. Contains a qr code and allows you to know the manufacturer and the date of production, uniquely identifying each shape. However, it is not a perfect system. For this reason, a new experiment has started which involves inserting a microchip into the plate that can contain a greater number of data, ensuring better traceability, and is safer because it cannot be tampered with. The symbol par excellence of the Italian tradition thus becomes high tech.

The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium has in fact created a collaboration between Kaasmerck Matec, manufacturer of the plates and p-Chip, a company that has created a product tracking technology based on small microprocessors that do not alter food. The chips are the size of a grain of fine salt, are made of silicon but “cause no harm if eaten”, according to the manufacturers, and are inserted by the manufacturer of the plates thanks to a robot. A year of study has been done, now an effective test on 100 thousand forms has begun and by the beginning of 2023 it could be passed on a large scale.

The product does not release any kind of substance in ingestion tests, but in any case it is found on the plaque, which is removed from the mold when it is cut or grated to be put on the market.

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“The chip has significant advantages. First of all it does not degrade. A cheese that can mature for 40 months is alive and changes over time; the casein plaque, and in particular the qr code it contains, can instead degrade, and no longer be legible, so it was necessary to find a system that could last ”, says Alberto Pecorari, Head of Institutional Services of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium. It can in fact remain unaltered at temperatures ranging from 200 degrees below zero to plus 500, it is resistant to microwaves and does not undergo alterations with solvents or reagents.

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“It is undoubtedly more secure and can hold much more information both downstream and upstream. It can also be used in graters and portioners, and to those who carry out the movement in the warehouses. Authenticity is guaranteed more precisely and is easily legible. Furthermore, the data entry phase is also made certain and precise. For the casein plate, the dairy must enter the code associated with each wheel in the register. The chip, on the other hand, is activated directly by the producer “, explains Pecorari. The production is not just: 4 million wheels are made every year in about 300 dairies, some of which are small and artisanal and make only 20, others are larger and make 200.

With the help of technologyeach cheese can be identified in detail. In particular, in the future it will be possible, for example, to communicate where the milk comes from, whether it is from red or white cows, two particularly valuable varieties of Parmesan, the farm, thus tracing the entire agricultural chain. However, digital data can always be tampered with, and it is for this reason that those relating to grain will travel through the blockchain, which ensures greater protection.

For now, this traceability does not concern the consumer, but in theory it would be possible to associate the chips with an app and allow recognition even in the retail consumption phase.

Those who have found a way to allow the recognition of false sOn the shelf are researchers from Purdue University who have developed an edible label, consisting of a biopolymer extracted from silk, which can be inserted into whiskey bottles or medicines. It is not visible to the human eye, but it can be read by the mobile phone.

And undoubtedly being able to make a choice at the time of purchase allows you to intervene directly on the counterfeit market.

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