The new law seeks to protect gelato as a "gastronomic symbol."
Italy takes its gelato seriously—and now, the country is considering a law banning artificial flavors, synthetic dyes, hydrogenated fats, and even excess air (used to make the gelato fluffier). The amount of air allowed in gelato would be capped at 30 percent, and "the only permitted ingredients would be "milk and its derivatives," eggs, and fresh fruit"—essentially, authentic, traditional gelato.
As reported by Food & Wine, the law was proposed by "six senators from the center-left Democratic and Italia Viva political parties," and "has been assigned to the senate's commerce and tourism commission." Senator Riccardo Nencini explained the reasoning behind the bill, noting that "Italian ice cream has always been one of the gastronomic symbols of our country, recognized globally together with pizza and pasta, but our laws do not preserve artisanal ice cream and producers who make it."
Ice cream maker Stefano Ferraro told Il Messaggero, "A law that protects consumers and real artisans would be useful. Many of us search for the best cocoa mass, the one that best fits our idea [for gelato]. But, at this point, it doesn't make any sense to compete with those who use much easier methods."
According to Food & Wine, citing Il Messaggero, "artisanal" ice creams contain between 20 to 30 percent air which is a side effect of "vigorously mixing the ingredients," while "industrial" versions use compressed air, and might be up to 80 percent air. "Basically, you pay for the air," the outlet writes." And, as Food & Wine writes, there isn't currently any legislation that "recognizes and protects the work of true gelato artisans—and that distinguishes their products from those made by corner-cutters who use pre-made ice cream bases or compressed air."
If passed, the new law would impose fines of up to €10,000 ($12,030) upon non-compliant vendors.
What do you think? Is this a great move to protect authentic artisanal vendors, or is it a little much? Let us know in the comments.