Fake balsamic vinegars damage economy
Counterfeit goods are costing the Italian economy $23 billion per year and the latest group to express their worries are the manufacturers of genuine balsamic vinegar. At a conference to be held at the Ministry of Agriculture tomorrow, the producers will ask for clarification of the rules regarding the use of the labels Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia DOP and Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP. They will also discuss ways of protecting their genuine products.
The DOP or Protected Designation of Origin label not only guarantees the geographical origin of the ingredients but also guarantees certain traditional methods of production. It is used to denote the highest quality of balsamic vinegar which is made only from aged wine using Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes and other approved grapes from the Emilia -Romagna region. The grapes are cooked and the juices left to age in oak barrels.
The IGP label is used for balsamic vinegar made from grape must and wine vinegar which are aged in barrels for a shorter period. Therefore the vinegar can be sold more cheaply.
IGP Balsamic Vinegar was registered only one year ago and it is since the introduction of this label that producers have noticed an increase, both in Italy and abroad, in the number of fake balsamic vinegars available. They estimate that these imitation balsamic vinegars are costing them 60 million euros a year in lost revenue.
Fake balsamic vinegars are made from distilled rice vinegars to which caramel flavourings and colour are added.