The Italian con job
Published:  19 September, 2008

In a recent BB we slavered over the wonders of authentic Neapolitan pizza. Well, the pizzas from Naples may be a delight, but the city's bread will slowly kill you.

Stop the Week has previously reported on the Mafia's moves into bakery in the southern Italian pizza capital, setting up illegal ovens. But a new report last week quantified the problem, citing officials and investigators' fears that Camorra clans are controlling much of the city's bakery trade. Even worse, some of the 1,400 unlicensed backstreet bakeries supplying car boot street vendors who sell the bread, could be putting people's health at risk - echoing the mozzarella tainting scandal that erupted there recently.

While the bread is baked in traditional wood-fired ovens, it turns out the fuel is less than traditional: poisonous varnished wood, pesticide-covered nut shells and - this is the most creative example of recycling we've come across - exhumed coffins.

Investigating local agriculture official Francesco Borrelli said: "Whoever buys this bread is eating dioxins and carcinogenic substances and putting their health at serious risk."

And illegal immigrant workers' health too; many employees toil in stinking cellars, sometimes in close proximity to toxic waste dumped in fields by the Camorra.

So if you're a local baker and a supermarket or bakery chain opens up next door, just remember: things could be worse.




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