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Italy launches alert over mysterious 'blue mozzarella'

 Italy has launched an international alert over possible contamination of mozzarella cheese after balls of the creamy white delicacy turned blue.

blue mozzarella

Police seized 70,000 mozzarella balls from supermarkets after receiving reports from consumers around the country that as soon as they slit open the plastic packets encasing the cheese, it changed colour.

The tainted mozzarella has been dubbed "smurf cheese" after the blue-skinned cartoon characters.

The mozzarella has been sent to a number of different laboratories for testing, with results expected to be known in a few days.

The strange blue hue could have been caused by a bacteria, reports said.

The minister for agriculture, Giancarlo Galan, said it was a "disturbing" phenomenon which required a full inquiry.

The mozzarella under investigation was in fact made in Bavaria and for an Italian company and sold in Italy and Slovenia.

No cases of illness were reported, but the health ministry in Rome alerted German authorities and the European Commission about the product.

Mozzarella is one of Italy's signature foods, used in everything from sandwiches and pizzas to the classic "caprese" salad, which recreates the national colours of red, white and green with tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.new balance 710

Although many people assume that all mozzarella is Italian-made, the country's agriculture lobby group, Coldiretti, pointed out that half of that sold in Italy is produced from foreign milk.

The president of the group, Sergio Marini, said he wanted a law introduced that would make it compulsory to clearly label mozzarella which contained non-Italian milk and milk powder.new balance 710

The reputation of mozzarella has been hit hard recently by health scares and doubts over its provenance.

Earlier this year an investigation was launched into allegations that the most prized and expensive mozzarella – which is made from the milk of domestic buffaloes, reared in southern Italy - was in fact being made with cow's milk.

Two years ago in Campania, the province around Naples, police investigated reports that some cheese was being made with milk contaminated by the carcinogenic chemical compound dioxin, possibly due to the use of tainted feedstock provided by the local Camorra mafia, who are heavily involved in illegal waste disposal.

The scare led some countries to suspend their imports of buffalo mozzarella.

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

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