Italy prizes its buffalo mozzarella and is well loved; so imagine the shock when news started coming in of high levels of dioxin being found in samples of buffalo milk. Dioxin is known as a cancer causing agent, much reviled in public news; not considered in any way safe - the news of food stuffs containing it would be a very scary prospect. As can be expected, this news caused a frenzy of action; the police and health authorities got involved - the association of buffalo mozzarella got involved as well in trying to reassure the public, with ads proclaiming that mozzarella made by their members were safe and all the contaminated products made were made by others:
The tainted products came from a few buffalo dairies in the southern Campania region, whose reputation as a top agricultural producer already has been tarnished by the months-old garbage crisis that has fueled fears of food contamination. Dioxin, a chemical environmental pollutant, can be hazardous even in small amounts. When it accumulates in the body, it can be linked to cancer, birth defects and organ failure.
Over the past week, Italian authorities have searched dozens of buffalo dairies and seized milk samples for tests after higher-than-permitted levels of dioxin were discovered in products from 29 mozzarella makers, news reports said. Prosecutors in Naples have placed 109 people under investigation in connection with the probe, on suspicion of fraud and food poisoning.
Given the wide spread usage of mozzarella in pizzas, as well as eating as it is, it is necessary that this be resolved quickly, and an investigation as to how this has happened; this is the way forward that would reassure consumers.