• Italy's news in English
 

Thousands of toxic Parmesan wheels seized

Published: 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Italian anti-immigrant party stages Rome rally
Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian anti-immigrant party stages Rome rally

The rising star of the Italian right, Matteo Salvini, led a mass rally in support of his anti-immigration, anti-EU Northern League party in central Rome Saturday, as a counter-rally took place nearby. READ  

Versace in thigh-high thrills at Milan fashion
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Versace in thigh-high thrills at Milan fashion

It was a traffic-light colour scheme to get any fashionista hot under the collar: red, yellow and green thigh-high boots sauntering down the catwalk at Versace's show Friday. READ  

Qatar buys landmark Milan business district
Qatar has owned 40 percent of the Porta Nuova business district since 2013. Milan photo: Shutterstock

Qatar buys landmark Milan business district

Qatar's sovereign fund has taken control of one of Italy's prime business areas after buying out other shareholders in a move hailed as heralding a new era of inward investment for the recession-bound country. READ  

'Made in Italy' gets €260m to go global
Made in Italy photo: Shutterstock

'Made in Italy' gets €260m to go global

The government on Thursday approved a plan to invest €260 million to promote Italian goods and services worldwide in an attempt to boost exports and attract more investment in the country. READ  

Italian coastguard wants to carry weapons
Migrants wait at the port of Lampedusa to board a ferry bound for Porto Empedocle in Sicily on February 20th. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Italian coastguard wants to carry weapons

Italy's coastguard on Friday called on the government to change its status so that its 11,000 seamen can carry weapons, amid mounting concern over the possibility of attacks by people traffickers or terrorists. READ  

No capes at Armani show after Madonna tumble
Giorgio Armani, the white-haired grandfather of fashion looked unrepentant as he took his bow for a lively autumn/winter 2015 collection. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

No capes at Armani show after Madonna tumble

You could forgive fashion king Giorgio Armani the absence of capes at his Emporio show Friday, after pop diva Madonna blamed one of his creations for her fall at the Brit Awards this week. READ  

Italians more confident about the future
More optimism amongst consumers has been a key driver of positive change in Europe. Shoppers photo: Shutterstock

Italians more confident about the future

Italians are feeling better about their future and business confidence is on the up, national statistics agency Istat said on Friday. READ  

Italy's defence ministry sells BMWs on eBay
The asking price for one of the government's BMWs has been set at €19,000. BMW photo: Shutterstock

Italy's defence ministry sells BMWs on eBay

Italy's defence ministry has put a fleet of official cars up for sale on eBay, including BMW and Fiat models, as part of the government's latest effort to reduce the deficit. READ  

VIDEO: Renzi jokes about his English skills
Renzi was speaking after a meeting with Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg about the Ukraine crisis. Screengrab: Vista Agenzia Televisiva Nazionale

VIDEO: Renzi jokes about his English skills

Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi joked about his English skills on Thursday after failing to respond to a question in English during a press conference. It’s not the first time the Italian leader has struggled with the language. READ  

Unmissable spring foods found in Rome
Seasonal ingredients can be found at the numerous food markets in Rome. Food photo: Shutterstock

Unmissable spring foods found in Rome

From fresh fruits to Easter cakes, the onset of spring in Rome is a gourmand’s delight. The Local speaks to resident foodie Katie Parla about the unmissable taste of spring in the Italian capital. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Purrfect catch: Italian twins land giant catfish
National
VIDEO: Massive sinkhole opens up in Naples
Culture
Italians 'don't love' their language
National
In pictures: Italians mock Isis on Twitter
Opinion
Could Isis terrorists really invade Italy?
International
EU to increase migrant aid to Italy
National
Lampedusa: Tiny Italian island swamped by migrant tide
Culture
Italy sells off Mussolini buildings to raise cash
National
Italians are Europe's most reckless drivers
National
Why flirty Italians still don't do online dating
Gallery
Top 10: the most romantic places to propose in Italy
National
Top 10: your favourite Italian words
International
Bond meets Snowden: The HSBC whistleblower
Education
Ten common mistakes Italians make in English
National
What makes life in Bolzano so good?
National
Swiss town's ploy against workers living in Italy 'not racist'
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Travel
How the weak euro is boosting tourism to Italy
Politics
Italy sends mixed signals on Greek debt
National
Top 10 delightfully irrational Italian superstitions
Politics
Sergio Mattarella: Sicilian 'man of the law'
National
10 Italian words used differently in English
National
26-year jail term sought for Concordia captain
Vatican
What did you think of the Pope's rabbit rant?
Culture
Italy seizes more than 5,000 looted artefacts
International
How can an American get Italian citizenship?
Travel
Italian hotel named best in world for families
Culture
Top 15 English words reinvented by Italians
Culture
Top 10: The best Italian inventions
Politics
Deputy Senate chief in Syria hostage sex row
National
A portrait of modern Italy in 10 stats
National
Muslims in Italy react to new Charlie Hebdo
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Culture
Rome's Trevi pays tribute to late La Dolce Vita star
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects across Europe
National
Should Italy spy more after the Paris attack?
National
Italy moves to widen smoking ban
National
New mosque ban in Padua after Paris attacks
Business & Money
Italy banks on a future with foreign investors
National
Sicily bridge collapses within days of opening
Business & Money
Italy's luxury brands defy economic crisis
International
Why migrant smugglers are using 'ghost ships'
National
The Local's aspirations for Italy in 2015
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

902
jobs available