29 May 2012

Cheese makers face ruin after Italian quake

7:07 am on 29 May 2012

A week after a powerful earthquake hit northern Italy, Parmesan farmers are feeling the economic repercussions.

Thousands of wheels of Parmesan cheese slid off warehouse shelves and crashed to the floor in the quake, and they are now being sold cheaply.

When the magnitude 6.0 quake struck northern Italy at 4am on 20 May, 10% of the world's supply of parmigiano came crashing to the ground and cheese makers are not just facing ruined parmesan but potentially financial ruin.

One round sells for $US800 and when the shelves holding the parmesan fell it was the oldest rounds that fell last. It is these cheeses, the most mature, that the owners are now trying to sell.

The BBC reports that in the city of Modena farmers are selling the parmesan at a 40% discount and many were already struggling with 100 going out of business in the last five years.