Friday, March 28, 2008

Houston, we have a problem!

I need to tell you of a major problem that has global effects. No, I am not talking about the war or even global warming. I am talking about something much more dire--the production of tainted buffalo mozzarella! Gasp! I know!

For those of you who have eaten real, fresh buffalo mozzarella, you know what an absolute crime this is. And speaking of crime--thats the reason it is tainted.

You see, buffalo mozzarella is made in Naples in southern Italy. This is the same place where you might have heard about the insane trash problem they are having. Since right before Christmas, there is an area of Naples where the trash has not been picked up. Its lining the street and alleys, causing incredible smells and dangerous toxins. Its believed that some of those toxins may have contaminated the ground water and since the trash is also being dumped on agricultural land, it is tainting the areas being used to pasture the animals. Now, of course, this theory hasnt been proven yet but its seems plausible and also begs the question as to what other tainted products are coming out of Naples and how the people are getting along in the waste.

So, why not just pick up the trash like any other city in the world? Well, for that we have to look at organized crime. As I understand it (and I try my best to stay clear of organized crime!), there is the mafia that we all know in reality and through the movies and then there is the Camorra which is another organized crime group but runs parallel with the elected officials. So, while they probably dont put cement shoes on people like the mafia, they do wield some serious power and intimidation in the region. The Camorra has made a profitable business of illegally dumping trash and so far, no one has confronted them.

South Korea and Japan have already banned the import of the cheese and Italy is scrambling to fix this publicity nightmare. While the majority of buffalo mozzarella is actually consumed in Italy, its still bad press and in todays day and age, we all know how effective bad press can be. Its a sad story on many levels. The outright purposeful neglect of a community by its government because of intimidation, the tainting of a food product because of neglect and some of the worst travel press that a tourist destination can get. And for what reason?


Maryann said...

This is indeed sad. I have been keeping up with this news story. It seems the EU is also asking Italy to do something about this. One by one countries are banning the buffalo milk products.

Gil said...

If I make it there this summer I'll have two sips of wine for every bite of mozzarella! The garbage situation is a real shame.