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Ethnic Food

The globalization of the food sector has prompted the emergence of new health, hygiene, inspection and commercial issues, mainly related to the imports of products from emerging or developing countries, where the level of food safety is not comparable to Western countries. Most of these products, as well as not providing health guarantees, also present commercial issues in terms of labeling and thus of traceability. This is exactly what happens within the Chinese communities in Italy, where official controls come up against ethnic products of uncertain traceability, along with the additional problem of the language barrier that hinders routine control practices, especially those related to labeling. Indeed, labeling plays a crucial role: it consists of a variety of information for the consumer to ensure traceability, in order to protect health and enable movement on the international and EU markets. The purpose of our project, carried out with the collaboration of the Operative Unit of Food Hygiene and Nutrition of ASL No. 4 of Prato, was to verify the accuracy of the information reported on the label (as determined by the current legislation) and the traceability of products purchased from various types of ethnic Chinese retailers (from small retailers to  supermarkets). To facilitate this investigation we used an experienced native Chinese speaker, who translated the original labeling of products, thus enabling us to compare it with the Italian labels (when present) and highlight the mismatches. To complete the project, various types of representative samples (meat, fish, eggs products) were subjected to microbiological investigations by the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Florence.


1. Armani, A., Tinacci, L., Lorenzetti, R., Benvenuti, A., Susini, F., Gasperetti, L., Ricci, E., Guarducci, M., Guidi, A. (2017). Is raw better? A multiple DNA barcoding approach (full and mini) based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers reveals low rates of misdescription in sushi products sold on the Italian market. Food Control, 79, 126-13.

2. Armani, A., Guardone, L., La Castellana, R., Gianfaldoni, D., Guidi, A., & Castigliego, L. (2015). DNA barcoding reveals commercial and health issues in ethnic seafood sold on the Italian market. Food Control55, 206-214.

2. “Seafood traceability issues in Chinese food business activities in the light of European provision” – Food Control 2015, 35(1) pp 7-13

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4. “Etichettatura degli alimenti etnici nelle comunità cinesi: il caso Prato” – Tesi di Laurea di Priscilla D’Amico a.a. 2009-2010

5. “Etichettatura di prodotti alimentari etnici nella comunità cinese di Prato” “Labeling of ethnic food in the Prato Chinese community” e “Qualità igienico-sanitaria di prodotti alimentari cinesi presenti sul mercato italiano” – LXIII Convegno SISvet 2009, vol. LXIII

6.”What kind of formation in the multiethnic culture of the European Union of the third millennium?” – Veterinary Research Communications 2008

7.“Sviluppo economico e sicurezza alimentare: l’incongruenza cinese” –  XVII Convegno AIVI 2007

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(Italiano) Report Oceana 2016

(Italiano) Report Oceana 2016

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