“Cheese is made from milk! Sign by the end of July to say NO to the use of milk powder” is the petition launched by Slow Food on Change.org in support of Italian law 138 of April 11, 1974, which bans the use of milk powder, condensed milk and reconstituted milk to make yogurt, caciotta, robiola and mozzarella. Up until now, this law has allowed Italy to protect its dairy biodiversity, but Brussels believes it represents a restriction on the free movement of goods and wants it repealed.
The intention of the petition launched by Slow Food is to mobilize the opinion of the Italian public—consumers and herders, farmers and cheesemakers, artisans and chefs—against the latest attack by European bureaucracy on our country’s quality food production. We have until the end of July to support the Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina. He has already stated that he wants to defend the Italian law, and along with it hundreds of small-scale cheeses and the heritage of milks, crafts, techniques, traditions and communities they preserve.
Dairy products made with powdered milk are only the latest attempt to lower the average quality of the foods that we bring to our tables, to the advantage of big businesses that are more interested in profit than biodiversity. Do we really want to accept the umpteenth direct attack on Italy’s true riches, in the spirit of wine made from a kit and chocolate without cocoa butter? Every signature will help us in our campaign and make the European Union hear the voice of all those who care about protecting quality.
The petition is also addressed to EU institutions—the European Commission, Parliament and Council and the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. And Slow Food hopes that other European countries will heed the call for quality and sustainability and adopt the Italian law.
This is not the first time Slow Food has taken up a collection of signatures to support the quality dairy sector. Fifteen years ago, in 2000, it mobilized its network in defense of raw-milk cheeses. At the time they were viewed with suspicion and risked being banned. That petition saw hundreds of thousands of signatures delivered to the European Agriculture Commissioner. The association has been committed to the cause ever since, with many Presidia that protect cheeses and cattle, sheep and goat breeds and with Cheese, the event held every two years in Bra. Cheese (link) is now in its tenth edition, and will be held this year from September 18 to 21. Once again hundreds of cheesemakers and herders from Italy and the rest of Europe will come together to present their products, discuss the challenges of their craft and debate regulations and the prospects offered by the market. The event will offer another opportunity to confirm that cheese is made from milk!
You can sign the petition too!