San Marzano Tomatoes: Are you Getting the Real Deal?

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From GustiBlog:

First thing Edoardo [President of the San Marzano Consortium] said was: maximum 1% of tomatoes in America sold as San Marzano are real San Marzano. Then, when I told him I would put it in writing, he said, OK, let’s say 5%, to be on the safe side. It is still huge! Shocking! Absolutely SHOCKING!!! It means that at least 95% of the tomatoes that you find in the supermarkets and that make a reference to San Marzano on their label, are not San Marzano; that you are paying a mark up for a fake product. It does not mean the product is not good; it means that the product is NOT San Marzano and should not be promoted as such.

Read the whole thing.

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Plus this from Jason L. Morrow:

If you do not see the prominently displayed DOP label, you are not getting certified San Marzanos. This is true even if there is “Italian” written on the can, and you see words like: “San Marzano Region,” – “San Marzano Type,” – “San Marzano Style” – “Imported Italian San Marzanos” = all of which are true. They could have been grown in the Campania region, or even in the DOP designated origins (dell’Agro Solerno-Nocerino region – see Map), however, that still doesn’t make them DOP certified.

 And there is nothing wrong with being non-certified, if that’s what the consumer wants. San Marzano tomato “purists” won’t settle for anything that is not DOP certified and it’s all a matter of personal taste.

 [We are neutral on the matter and just try to present the information as balanced as we can. Personally, I would prefer them from my own garden].

 Regardless, buyers need to be aware of the language that is used as it can be a little misleading, even if what they have labeled is true. Other verbiage and adjectives used to label canned San Marzano tomatoes includes: Organic, Whole Peeled, Peeled Tomatoes, Product of Italy, Italian Style, All Natural Italian Style, and Prodotto in Italia to name most of them.

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How do you know if you’re getting the real deal?  The only way to know for certain is to look for the DOP label.  Yes, the certification process adds a premium to any Italian product, but perhaps it’s a small price in order to guarantee the quality you’re looking for.  It’s also wise to purchase through reliable importers like Gustiamo.  I always do.

Click on the links below for more information.  As we say in America: “Buyer Beware.”

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Further Reading:

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