Monday, November 19, 2018
 Mozzarella Scandal Unlikely to Upset Demand, Says Analyst  

By Guy Montague-Jones

Widespread use of cow’s milk in buffalo mozzarella may cause an outcry in Italy but it is unlikely to damage the European market.

This is the assessment of an analyst from the cheese market research firm Proteus Insight on the revelation last week that a quarter of Italian buffalo mozzarella may contain cow’s milk. Under the PDO protected status buffalo mozzarella should only contain buffalo milk.

Routine inspections uncovered the problem prompting Italian agriculture minister Luca Zaia to disband the consortium of producers that is tasked with assuring the quality of buffalo mozzarella.

A Proteus Insight analyst said the news may prompt some importers to switch suppliers and is likely to provoke some indignation in the home market.

But the analyst told that the global cheese market has already moved on from buffalo mozzarella.

Mozzarella Success
He described mozzarella as a “great global success story” in the cheese market but said the buffalo variety now only accounts for a small segment of the market.

Proteus Insight data indicates that the global market for mozzarella reached about 2.3 million tons in 2009 and has grown at an average annual rate of 2.2 percent since 2000.

Buffalo mozzarella only contributes a small amount to these figures as the market today is dominated by processors in Germany, the US and Australia who use cheaper cow’s milk. This is quite simply because the world is awash with a lot more milk from cows than buffalos.

This is not the first scandal to hit the Italian mozzarella market as two years ago buffalo milk was found to be contaminated by high levels of dioxin from rotting piles of rubbish in the Naples area.

Demand for authentic mozzarella is small but robust ensuring that the health scare did not decimate the market for the buffalo cheese.

Cheese Fallout
This time around the scandal is not about public health and is therefore unlikely have a more significant impact on sales. But buyers may switch to suppliers with better reputations and the politics and internal controls behind buffalo mozzarella production in Italy may be shaken up.

Testing companies also see an opportunity to put importer worries at ease. UK-based Reading Scientific Services sent out a press release saying its DNA-based technology is able to detect cow’s milk in buffalo milk at levels as low as one percent.

Source: Dairy Reporter


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