Imagine how you would feel if you found out that your favorite steak house had been serving you horse meat. Maybe that parallels how lots of folks in Italy feel after finding out that the cheese they have been buying as traditionally-made buffalo mozzarella has been being made with imported cow’s milk. The Italians take their mozzarella seriously.
Seriously enough, in fact, that 13 people were arrested when it was discovered that the company Cantile di Sparanise had been using the aforementioned cow’s milk where only buffalo milk is supposed to be used.
“What’s the big deal?” you may ask. “Milk is milk.” And you would be wrong. As a result of the switcheroo in milk products, the bogus mozzarella contained 2,000 times the recommended bacteria limit.
So how were the perpetrators caught?
Well, it turns out that substituting a subpar milk in the recipe wasn’t the only thing they were skimping on. Like all factories and manufacturing facilities, they had safety equipment and guards in place to prevent workplace accidents. Sometimes these safeguards slow things down. This particular manufacturer had removed some required safety equipment to speed up production. And, sure enough, a worker lost some fingers. The workplace incident triggered an inspection of the facility, which led to the discovery of the adulterated milk.
It was not just the factory that was shuttered either. Seven stores in the region were shut down because they knowingly carried the bad cheese.
Now 13 people are under house arrest, including two public health service veterinarians who tipped off the manufacturer that an inspection was coming.
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