Pomi said its sauces are only made from tomatoes in Italy’s north and not in the “heavily polluted south”, La Repubblica reported.
The company published an image of boot-shaped Italy on its website indicating the centre of its production – the Po Valley, which stretches from the western Alps to the Adriatic sea – alongside the slogan, “Only from here. Only Pomi”.
The ad was prompted by recent reports that Italians were being fed food contaminated with toxins from an area of farmland between Naples and Caserta where rubbish is constantly burnt.
Meanwhile, a campaign is underway to stop the mafia from dumping toxic industrial waste in the Campania region around Naples.
Despite opposition in recent years, toxic waste from northern Italy is still being dumped and burnt in the region.
But producers’ association ANICAV condemned the ad, saying it “seriously damages the entire Southern canned vegetable sector, particularly in Campania”.
Meanwhile Coldiretti, which represents one million Italian farmers, defended Italy’s tomatoes, saying “there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ tomatoes”.
“In fact, 100 percent of processed Italian tomatoes have passed mandatory health ministry chemical residue testing,” the association added.
Nunzia De Girolamo, the minister of agriculture, food and forestry policies, also condemned the ad, saying “someone once asked whether the tomato is left or right-wing, now we have ‘ethnic’ tomato discrimination”.