Threat to pasta people stirs up lashings of controversy
Millions of Italians awoke yesterday to the terrifying news that their treasured tortellini, tagliolini. trofie and tagliatelle were about to be banned. “Europe wipes out fresh pasta” screamed one newspaper headline, “Fresh pasta axed by Brussels” trilled another. It seemed that the faceless bureaucrats had turned their beady eyes from bendy bananas to Italy’s national dish, with murderous intent. “Within a few days the historic difference between fresh and preserved pasta will be eliminated … the scandal is the fruit of the latest heinous European food standards that set rules for fresh pasta” warned Rome’s la Repubblicca newspaper.
(The Independent, 10 April 2002, page 12)
Here The Independent reports that it is not just the UK press that is capable of working itself up into a europhobe lather. In a style of which the British tabloids would be proud, the Italian press interpreted a proposed EU directive on food packaging as sounding the death knell of fresh pasta. Since the legislation concerned is a directive rather than a regulation, it will be the responsibility of the Italian government and not the European Commission to decide how the rules should be implemented. As The Independent went on to point out, the headlines had more to do with lobbying the Italian government than anything that the Commission had actually done.