One of her main points is: “Better to find a canned tomato that specializes in tomatoes, not advertising.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. She goes on to say, “One of the things that incenses the folks at Gustiamo is not just that the fake San Marzanos are low-grade products; it’s that large industrial companies are profiting off the name of poor, small farmers hand-picking their tomatoes and submitting to the consorzio’s (the European Union recognized body that regulates San Marzano Tomatoes) strict regulations.”
Uyehara makes the powerful point that: “Unlike faux Chanel bags… you can buy San Marzanos in legit stores, which is why the sheer number of knockoffs is jaw-dropping.” She is right. Imagine seeing a “Louis Fuitton” at your local Macy’s, you don’t see it. But you do see questionable San Marzano Tomatoes at you local [insert name of favorite upscale food market here].
Uyehara interviewed Gustiamo’s Danielle to go deeper into this problem. As Danielle says: “We see all these crazy, sketchy things. Italians will send tomatoes to the U.S. with no label, and companies here will put a DOP label on. In America, you can’t put a USDA Organic label on anything, but DOP is not regulated here.” She goes on to say: “It’s not just the San Marzano tomato fakes and the much-publicized olive oil fraud, either. Italy is the biggest importer of Chinese tomato paste, and you can guess where that is going. ‘And Castelvetrano is a tiny town in Sicily—there’s no way all those olives are coming from there’, adds Aquino Roithmayr.”