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Parmigiano Reggiano wheels spinning on how to prevent billions in fraud

Parmigiano Reggiano

Italian cheesemakers have axe to rind with fraudulent cheese peddlers.

As reported in Food and Wine magazine, authentic Parmigiano Reggiano sales are just above $2 billion while fraudulent cheese is a $2 billion market, according to the trade group Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, which is tasked with protecting true "Parmesan" cheese.

With the amount of fraud almost as big as product sales, Parmigiano Reggiano has enlisted a new high-tech partner to fight against counterfeit cheese by implanting microchips in the rind to keep track of its authentic products.

The Consortium has teamed up with Kaasmerk Matec — a leading producer of casein cheesemarks — and p-Chip — which creates digital tracing technology — to put tiny, food-safe transponders in legitimate wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano, according to the article.

The Consortium states that the new smart labels will be added to 100,000 Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheels in the second quarter of 2022 as a final testing phase, after which, the group will determine whether to make adding this technology as a permanent part of the cheese's production, Food and Wine reported.