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Italy’s Cheese Production During Coronavirus Lockdown

Photographer: Katrin Leinfellner

Did you know that roughly 11 tons of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese are exported to the U.S. every year? Bold TV checked on the company to see how their production faring during the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy. The Italian government considers the food industry a “strategic sector,” so the cheesemaking is still going strong. Customers will be able to buy their cheese at the grocery store. While many companies are struggling, Parmigiano Reggiano is still in business. But the consortium’s spokesperson Andrea Robuschi says they’re looking forward to returning to normal Italian life.

 

Hoping the staff stays healthy

From an operational standpoint, the current situation doesn’t affect Parmigiano Reggiano too much. Transporting goods is still allowed, keeping exports running. Much of the staff work from home except for the employees who make the product. And the workers in the dairy wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines. But if a “cheese master” gets sick, he or she can’t go to the dairy. This could slow production. So the possible shortage of staff is potentially their biggest problem.

 

Relying on exports to continue cheese production

Exports are the key for many businesses in the Italian food industry. It shows what we already knew: The world loves Italian food. The export share makes up 40 percent of Parmigiano Reggiano production. And the U.S. is their second export market, after France. How do you know if your Parmigiano Reggiano is the real deal? Its rind is dotted and approved by the consortium. And it also has the EU stamp of approval. The demand for this authentic food remains strong, even in a pandemic. If this is making you hungry, you probably can’t go out to your favorite Italian restaurant. But you can make your own authentic dinner with good ingredients. Maybe some parmesan?

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