Imports of fresh produce are being passed off as PGI products grown in Sicily. This is the assertion of the island’s Regional Councilor for Agriculture, Edy Bandiera. Containers of unlabeled tomatoes and oranges with the PGI brand have arrived at the port of Pozzallo this year from abroad, as well as Egyptian potatoes labeled as Sicilian. In the past year, there have been a hundred sanctions for irregular products arriving on the island, leading to the setting up of a special task force to deal with the problem.
This year, more than 76 million agro-food products have landed in Sicilian ports from abroad. Airports inspectors last year found a container of oranges from Tunisia that were not conserved properly, as well as lemons and mangoes bringing pests with them from North Africa. Just in the night of January 31st, the taskforce found that of the 36,000 kilos of artichokes arriving, more than half had no indications of origin. The same was the case with almost 6,000 kilos of lemons and tangerines, 7,500 kilos of oranges. The Sicilian government suspects that these products are being sold as local, leading to risks for consumers and producers alike.