Fear of contamination today forced Italy to recall its celebrated mozzarella cheese, Reuters reports. Rome is withdrawing the cheese of 25 companies in the Campania region near Naples, source of the country’s best buffalo mozzarella, after a garbage crisis is thought to have spread cancer-causing dioxin. The European Commission had threatened a trade ban; South Korea and Japan have halted imports.
The contaminating dioxin likely came from locals burning trash and industrial waste in streets and fields. “We are at the historical minimum level of sales,” said one cheese dealer, but Italy’s foreign minister said he wasn’t worried. “This is a limited phenomenon,” he noted. After the recall, “we're convinced that we can restore confidence” in “a symbol of Italian gastronomy.”