Counterfeit Canned Tomatoes

❝ Rossetto Kasper wrote: “What is it with San Marzano tomatoes? Their PR shines; every chef recommends them, but I wonder how many have actually tasted them next to American tomatoes.”

❝ What seems to be the issue with San Marzano tomatoes is widespread fraud. They command a higher price than regular canned tomatoes, and as with any other premium brand, counterfeits follow. Unlike faux Chanel bags, though, you can buy San Marzanos in legit stores, which is why the sheer number of knockoffs is jaw-dropping. In 2011, Edoardo Ruggiero, the president of Consorzio San Marzano, told the small Italian importing company Gustiamo that at maximum 5 percent of tomatoes sold in the U.S. as San Marzanos are real San Marzanos. So according to the guy who oversees the certification of those tomatoes, at least 95 percent of the so-called San Marzanos in the U.S. are fakes…

❝ With all this fraud going on, I wondered if chefs even used San Marzanos…Food writers are working with ingredients that home cooks can easily find at the neighborhood grocery store, where all the San Marzanos are fakes. If you’re at the grocery store, Muir Glen is your best bet. But good chefs don’t shop at the grocery store and test out all sorts of specialty suppliers to find the best possible ingredients available.

RTFA. Learn what’s really available, see what trained chefs use, what good home cooks can use to make a great Italian tomato sauce.

Thanks, Om Malik

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