Russia displays false Italian products at Milan Expo

In misleading packaging.

An Italian daily has revealed that the Russia pavilion at Expo 2015 is displaying cheese products made in Tatarstan with blatantly misleading packaging, designed for the Russian market in order to persuade consumers at home, where Italian goods are much sought after, that the contents are made in Italy.

The article by reporter Attilio Barbieri on the website of Libero Quotidiano reports that Italian diplomats recently estimated that some 1,500 products such as cheeses, hams and wines on the Russian market are blatantly mislabelled as Italian produce. And he concludes, “It takes some courage to bring false-flag Tartar products to Expo in Italy and pass them off as Russian specialities.”

The photos on the website show a cheese with the brand name “Prego” and the claim “Original Italian recipe”. Confusingly, the package sports an Italian tricolour flag, the text “Italian style”, but also the label “Maasdam” – the name of a famous Dutch cheese.

Another picture shows a similar pack, also branded “Prego” and with an Italian flag, but this time with the label “Edam”, while other products are branded “Solo formaggio”, with an Italian flag, even though the rest of the wording is in Cyrillic script.

Farmers’ union Coldiretti, commenting on the article, reveals that the sharp drop in exports to the Russian Federation caused by international sanctions had led to a 30 per cent boom in false-flag imitation “Made in Italy” products, including imitations of mozzarella, robiola and parmesan. Their report also describes the display of these products at Expo 2015 as “arrogant”.