• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Mafia-themed pasta sauce and coffee 'an insult' to Italy
Non-Italian products carrying mafia names are damaging Italian business and marring its international reputation. Photo: Coldiretti.

Mafia-themed pasta sauce and coffee 'an insult' to Italy

Patrick Browne · 11 Mar 2016, 10:52

Published: 11 Mar 2016 10:52 GMT+01:00

These are just two examples of how mafia association is increasingly used around the world to market 'Italian' products, something experts say is damaging Italian business as well as the country's international reputation.

“These products are a double insult to Italy,” Sara Paraluppi from the Italian farmers' association, Coldiretti, told The Local.

“Global producers are marketing foreign products as Italian by linking them to the worst Italy has to offer: organized crime.”

To highlight the growing problem, Coldiretti exhibited some of the most scandalous examples in Catania on Thursday.

Items included a spice mix in Germany called 'Palermo Mafia Shooting'  - sold in a jar labelled with a 9mm pistol -  and a non-Italian limoncello called 'Don Corleone' after the fictional mafia boss.

“It's almost exclusively foreign producers doing this. Italians work hard to promote their territories and show there is more to Italy than organized crime and rubbish," Paraluppi added.

But the problem isn't exclusive to product names: companies are increasingly naming themselves after organized crime networks and bosses too.

The online portal www.candymafia.com sells sweets at wholesale prices, while a quick Google search for 'Cosa Nostra Pizzeria' turns up pages of restaurants and takeaways around the globe.

Story continues below…

Apart from damaging Italy's global reputation with insensitive naming that ignores the pain and misery organized crime has brought to millions of Italians, 'brand mafia' is also duping consumers into thinking they are buying an authentic Italian product.

“Mafia labelling is part of the problem of 'Italian sounding' items: things which can seem Italian to consumers but have nothing to do with our country," explained Paraluppi.

In total, such products are thought to cost the Italian an economy an estimated €60 billion, but the value of 'brand mafia' is currently unknown.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Patrick Browne (patrick.browne@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How we found each other through The Local Italy
Tom and Orna on their wedding day in Veneto in July.

Orna O’Reilly had been widowed for over 20 years before she moved to Italy’s Veneto region from Ireland in March 2013. A few months later, she met her future husband – via The Local Italy.

Video
Cat pulled alive from Italy's quake rubble after five days
Gioia is dehydrated but doing well. Photo: Facebook/ENPA

There were rare scenes of joy in earthquake-hit Amatrice on Monday, when a fortunate cat was rescued from the ruins of a collapsed home and returned to its tearful owner.

England 'keeper Hart jets in for Torino medical
Joe Hart is set to join Torino on loan. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

England goalkeeper Joe Hart is set to become the first English goalkeeper to play in Italy's top flight since 1930.

Romania PM is first EU leader to visit quake zone
Firefighters visit damaged houses in Accumoli on Monday. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos on Tuesday will become the first European Union leader to visit Italy since last week's earthquake, which left nearly 300 people dead including 11 Romanians.

Some 6,500 migrants rescued off Libya: coastguard
Handout photo from Italy's Red Cross after a rescue operation by Moas on August 15th. Photo: Yara Nardi/AFP

Around 6,500 migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya on Monday, the Italian coastguard said, in one of its busiest days of life-saving in recent years.

Facebook donates €500,000 to quake-hit Italy
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (L) has given €500,000 to help the earthquake relief effort in Italy. Photos: AFP

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has told Italian students how the social media site gave €500,000 to the Italian Red Cross following Wednesday's devastating earthquake in central Italy.

Italy quake: homeless to leave tent camps next month
Some 2,700 people lost their homes in the quake. Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

Those left homeless after Wednesday's devastating earthquake in central Italy will be moved out of their tent camps by the end of September.

Facebook CEO in Rome for chat with staff...and a jog
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in Rome on Monday for a Q&A with employees. Photo: Drew Angerer/AFP

The billionaire arrived in the Italian capital after spending a week in Lake Como, where he attended the wedding of Sofia and Daniel Ek, the CEO of Spotify.

Gene makes coffee-lovers full of beans: Italian study
How much coffee you drink could come down to your genetic make-up. Photo: McPig/Flickr

A groundbreaking study carried out in coffee-mad Italy has helped identify a gene scientists say could regulate our appetite for espressos and cappuccinos.

The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

For 40 minutes before an earthquake struck central Italy in the early hours of last Wednesday, a pet dog, living with its family in Poggio Castellano, a hamlet near Amatrice, kept barking.

Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
2,499
jobs available