Italian farmers organisation Coldiretti has called out foreign food manufacturers who use mafia nicknames, fictional mafiosos, and even guns to market supposedly Italian products.
Photo via Flickr user melissa b.
Goodfellas is a great film and everyone likes a funny Marlon Brando impression, but there's no getting away from the fact that the Italian mafia is an organised crime gang responsible for hundreds of deaths, illegal racketeering, and violent criminals still on the run from police.
Not a great look for your country, which is why one Italian farmers organisation has taken a stand against foreign food manufacturers who use mafia nicknames, fictional mafiosos, and even guns to market supposedly Italian products.
In a recent post on its website, Coldiretti called out several mafia-referencing products, including a snack sold in Britain under the name "Chilli Mafia" and a Napa Valley wine named "The Godfather." Even more cringey was an "Italian" coffee from Bulgaria called "Mafiozzo" and Belgium's "Saucemaffioso" pasta sauce.
It's not just food and drink, either. The organisation also drew attention to the deluge of Italian-themed restaurants across the world named "Cosa Nostra" (the name given to the Sicilian Mafia), as well as The Mafia Cookbook, a memoir-stroke-recipe book that promises "authentic Italian recipes and colourful Mafia anecdotes [...] as much fun to read as it is to cook from."
Speaking to English language Italian news site The Local, Coldiretti's Sara Paraluppi said that such products damage Italy's international reputation.
She explained: "These products are a double insult to Italy. Global producers are marketing foreign products as Italian by linking them to the worst Italy has to offer: organised crime."
Coldiretti isn't the first to air concerns over non-Italian products sold abroad as the real thing. Last month, Italian MEP Nicola Danti called on the EU to take action against the "misleading" labelling of foreign-made pizza and risotto posing as Italian products. Coldiretti is worried that "brand mafia" Italian food may also dupe foreign customers into thinking they're buying authentic produce.
Paraluppi said: "Mafia labelling is part of the problem of 'Italian-sounding' items: things which can seem Italian to consumers but have nothing to do with our country."
As well as misleading consumers and damaging Italy's reputation, Coldiretti says that using references to the mafia to sell chili snacks ignores the suffering the criminal organisation has brought to Italy.
Paraluppi added: "Italians work hard to promote their territories and show there is more to Italy than organised crime and rubbish."
Something to think about should you ever find yourself reaching for a slice of "Just like Vito Corleone used to make!" pizza.