• Italy edition
 
Thousands of toxic Parmesan wheels seized
Four people have been arrested over the contaminated cheese. Parmesan photo: Shutterstock

Thousands of toxic Parmesan wheels seized

Published: 20 Jun 2014 12:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jun 2014 12:56 GMT+02:00

Four people have been arrested in the northern city of Parma, after it emerged that tests that should have indicated the presence of a highly carcinogenic toxin were falsified, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported

The naturally occurring substance Aflatoxin appears in crops in condition of drought, and in the milk of cows that have eaten mouldy grain.

In chronic levels the chemical can causes cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.

While adults generally have a high tolerance for aflatoxins, in 2003, 120 people died in Kenya after eating maize containing very high levels of contamination.

Children are known to be particularly affected by aflatoxin and it can lead to stunted growth and delayed development.

Special tests ordered by prosecutors, and carried out privately, showed that the previous checks had been falsified to cover up the toxin, police said.

Although the EU says small amounts, of up to 0.05 mg per litre, can be tolerated safely, the milk contained twice that amount, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported. 

The city’s head of agricultural nutrition was among those arrested, alongside three producers.

They are accused of conspiracy to commit fraud in the marketing of toxic food and attempted fraud in milk quality. More than 60 others are under investigation.

Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said the investigation shows the effectiveness of food controls in Italy. "The number of cases is limited” she said, and consumers have no need to be worried. 

Don't miss a story about Italy - join us on Facebook and Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Foreigners eclipse Italians in finding jobs
Foreigners are more likely to be employed in Italy than locals. Job photo: Shutterstock

Foreigners eclipse Italians in finding jobs

Foreigners are more likely to be employed in Italy than locals, with Europeans beating other immigrants in finding work, EU figures released on Wednesday show. READ  

Italian social attitudes
Italians: abortions are OK - but not facelifts
Facelifts are more acceptable to young Italians than pensioners. Facelift photo: Shutterstock

Italians: abortions are OK - but not facelifts

Having an abortion is more acceptable to Italians than getting a facelift, despite plastic surgery being popular in the Catholic country, a revealing new survey of the country's social attitudes has found. READ  

Italy denies sending fire-fighting jets to Libya
The fire has raged at at an oil depot in the outskirts of Tripoli since Sunday. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

Italy denies sending fire-fighting jets to Libya

Italy has denied a report by Libyan authorities that Rome was to send seven fire-fighting planes to combat an inferno that has been blazing since Sunday at an oil depot in the outskirts of Tripoli. READ  

Swiss-EU relations discussed in Rome
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi met in Rome on Tuesday. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Swiss-EU relations discussed in Rome

Switzerland’s relationship with the EU was on the agenda when Swiss President Didier Burkhalter met Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi during an official visit to Rome on Tuesday. READ  

EU prepares to hit Russia with tough sanctions
Young people during a protest rally in front of a European Union delegation in Kiev on May 30th. Photo: Yuriy Kirnichny/AFP

EU prepares to hit Russia with tough sanctions

The EU prepared on Tuesday to hit Russia where it hurts with tough economic sanctions as Moscow insisted the West can do it little harm and showed no sign of reversing course in Ukraine. READ  

€5,000 bounty offered for Tuscan wolf killer
Eleven wolves have been killed in Grosseto, Tuscany, since spring 2013. Wolf photo: Shutterstock

€5,000 bounty offered for Tuscan wolf killer

Activists offered a €5,000 reward to catch the killer of a wolf in central Italy as tensions between farmers and animal rights groups mounted, with the latter saying a "conspiracy of silence" among villagers is protecting those responsible. READ  

Italian fire-fighting jets to combat Libya oil inferno
Flames and smoke billowing from an oil depot where a huge blaze started following clashes around Tripoli airport. Photo: Mahmud Turkia/AFP

Italian fire-fighting jets to combat Libya oil inferno

The Italian government and national energy giant ENI will send seven fire-fighting planes to help combat an inferno raging at an oil depot on the outskirts of Tripoli, Libyan authorities said on Tuesday. READ  

Embryo mix-up couple to launch custody battle
The embryo mix-up happened at the Sandro Pertini hospital in Rome. IVF photo: Shutterstock

Embryo mix-up couple to launch custody battle

The genetic parents of embryos mistakenly implanted in another woman plan to take legal action in a bid to gain custody over the twins. The unprecedented case will likely be a “long, drawn-out” battle, one of the lawyers involved told The Local. READ  

Italians among the most surgically enhanced
There were 27,952 eyelid jobs in Italy last year. Plastic surgery photo: Shutterstock

Italians among the most surgically enhanced

Italy has one of the world's highest uptakes of plastic surgery, with eyelid and breast surgery being particularly popular, according to a new survey. READ  

VIDEO: Inmates get 'Happy' in Italian prison
Screengrab: Paolo Andolina/CataniaOggi/YouTube

VIDEO: Inmates get 'Happy' in Italian prison

It's lifted spirits and sparked a global movement for happiness. Now prisoners in Sicily have been filmed singing along to Pharrell Williams' 'Happy' song in a bid to show that, even behind bars, they too experience moments that make them smile. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
VIDEO: Inmates get 'Happy' in Italian prison
Sport
'I never imagined it could feel this good': Nibali
National
Italian prison blasted over inmate 'happy hour'
Gallery
Top 10 cycling routes in Italy
Culture
Top 10 foreign films made in Italy
International
Ukraine tragedy hits Mogherini's EU hopes
National
'Life in Italy is not how I thought it would be'
Politics
Critics scramble to block Mogherini from EU job
National
'Italy's ginger gene spread from Sicily'
National
'Refugees can contribute positively to Italy'
Society
Hospital to obese patient: Go to a vet instead
Politics
Italy backs controversial Russian gas pipeline
Culture
Ten things tweeters love about Italy
Society
Italy: no place for pets?
Opinion
Why doctors in Italy refuse to give abortions
National
Italy's centre-right leader open to gay unions
National
Top ten reasons Italians hate summer
Politics
Italy under fire over its huge debt
National
Americans taught how to 'rap' Italian gestures
National
How does Italy compare to its EU neighbours?
International
The Italian explorer training astronauts
Travel
Top ten: Italy's gay-friendly holiday hotspots
National
1,900 children languish in Italy's adoption system
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

525
jobs available