Some 250 packs of the offending crisps were confiscated by an Italian anti-food-fraud squad in the Prosecco-producing Conegliano area, after authorities said Pringles had used the Prosecco name without permission.
“Identity theft cannot be allowed,” Agricultural Policy Minister Teresa Bellanova told Italian media, explaining that the objectionable snacks, produced by a Dutch company and sold across Europe, made use of protected wine names “without authorisation from the Consortium”
Prosecco has been a protected name since being granted DOC (denomination of controlled origin) status in 2009, which means it can be used only with permission from the region’s consortium of producers.
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The President of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, Stefano Zanette, told Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano: “Clearly ours is a successful product, and attempts are often made to improperly use the brand, for sweets, dog food, even erotic lubricating gels.”
The outspoken Veneto president, Luca Zaia of the right-wing League party, railed against the Pringles flavour in a furious Facebook post and said use of the Prosecco name “could not be tolerated any longer”
“Just think: yesterday in a chain of supermarkets in the Veneto region, hundreds of packets of “Prosecco chips” purchased by a Dutch company were seized, which included an unspecified “Prosecco powder” in the ingredients,” he wrote.
“That's why we have been insisting for years – to all administrative and government levels – in protecting our excellences, protecting them from fraud, abuse and anything “Italian-sounding”, which are damaging the honest producers who promote quality and territory.”
The Italian authorities' investigation “does not stop” with the Pringles tubes seized by the ICQRF food fraud unit in Veneto, said Stefano Vaccari, the unit’s chief.
“We could eventually find thousands of boxes as other withdrawals are underway and the company has also undertaken to withdraw the product,” he stated.
The Prosecco and pink peppercorn flavour was produced as a limited edition special for Christmas in 2018, Pringles stated: “We used Prosecco DOC as an ingredient in the aroma and the use of the product name on the packaging was designed in line with DOC gudelines and European regulations. We have no plans to produce this variant in future.”