Author Topic: San Marzano Scam???  (Read 7590 times)

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Offline Glutenboy

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San Marzano Scam???
« on: January 16, 2012, 09:25:57 PM »
I spoke with a friend today who is an accomplished chef in his own right.  He recently addressed this question directly to a Michelin Starred chef who agreed without batting an eye:  95 percent or more of the tomatoes that Italy exports labeled San Marzano and bearing the DOP stamp, even when properly numbered, are in fact counterfeit and do not meet standards to be labeled as such.  Here is one article supporting that claim.  I RESERVE JUDGMENT WITHOUT FURTHER INFORMATION AND UNTIL I HEAR WHAT SOME OF THE EXPERTS HERE HAVE TO SAY.  The claim seems extraordinary on one hand and, given the mixed reaction and results to expensive San Marzanos by people here, believable on the other.  Does anyone have any insight?

http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder/2011/12/are_95_of_americas_san_marzano.php
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2012, 07:42:33 AM »
I don't doubt that there might be some underhanded labeling of tomatoes (especially a product that comes from around the Naples area, where crime families rule almost every aspect of business) but the fact of the matter is that most DOP labeled tomatoes taste like DOP San Marzano tomatoes. The statement may be referring to the consortium not getting paid for the labels. But many of the brands I buy taste identical to the ones I have tasted in Italy or ones purchased directly from a consortium member company.

John

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2012, 03:30:16 PM »
John -

So are you saying that, in your opinion, the claims of the article are false or greatly exaggerated?

- GB
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2012, 03:39:10 PM »
John -

So are you saying that, in your opinion, the claims of the article are false or greatly exaggerated?

- GB

No, it may well be true that the labels are not legit. But that does not mean the product is not up to standard. The following from the article highlights the inconsistencies though:

Quote
The Italian Consorzio warns that "Real San Marzanos are never pureed, chopped, diced, made into sauce, or even 'organic'. The only real ones are whole and peeled. And they're in a can that says 'Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese Nocerino D.O.P.' with a consorzio number and a consorzio symbol."

All the cans I see/buy from many brands have 'Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese Nocerino D.O.P.' with a consorzio number and a consorzio symbol. So how a full 95% of these cans of tomatoes, which taste like the San Marzanos to me, are not real begs the question of what is really going on behind the scenes to come out with such a high percentage number. And instead, why not say "these are the brands that are fake..."?

Never the less, I still pay extra for SM tomatoes, and switch brands frequently to find the best quality - which varies through the year and production lot.

John

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2012, 11:10:18 PM »
Thank you, John.  No one else has any info or informed opinion on the subject?  I was expecting a bit more disparaging skepticism, rebuttal, and/or outrage.  Sigh...  :-\
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2012, 07:47:30 AM »
My take is who cares.  The whole SM DOP is a scam.  Tomatoes grown right here in Texas, or Florida, or California, or even New Jersey are just as good or better, and in most cases fresher than the supposed Italian grown ones anyway.  You do not eat Mystique.

Offline Pizza3.14

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 08:13:13 AM »
Glutenboy,

This is a little surprising considering that I went to check the cans I have and found that only one of the cans I have are actual San Marzano (with label and such) the others just say San Marzano with no DOP. I would like to think that I am not being lied to at every interaction.  (hopefully only some)   

I think that I fall in the category of not really being bothered as long as they are equal in taste.  If they are then I will always buy the cheaper ones, in a way it could save everyone money.  I also like the idea that tomatoes grown locally are probably even a bit more fresh not to mention the shipping.   

I will compare the two cans know knowing that they might be very different. 

Thanks for the article. 

Offline shuboyje

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2012, 09:50:24 AM »
Things like this are all the more reason to grow and can your own.  Never found anything in a store that compares to my glass canned home grown Opalka tomatoes.
-Jeff

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 11:29:31 AM »
I just want to be clear that I've never quite bought into the San Marzano legend myself.  I've tried many brands of tomatoes over the years, from purportedly DOP San Marzanos to Muir Glen to Trader Joe's to WalMart Great Value, and I can't say that the SM's yielded results more consistently spectacular than the rest.  I chalked it up to 1) hype,  2) my lack of skill in using them properly, and 3) my pedestrian tastebuds.  Therefore I'm not shocked on the level that I was taken in by the marketing.  I just assumed that there was some legitimacy to the pride behind the heritage of these tomatoes, and that, even if it went over my head, there were some consistent characteristics exhibited by tomatoes given the stamp of approval.  Kind of like truffles.  I guess the more I think about it, the more I realize that there's nothing here to be surprised about.

I just haven't been this disappointed since I found out that Wonder Bread doesn't really build bodies seven different ways; it just makes you fat and diabetic... (That's only 2 ways!)  ;D

- GB
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 11:31:35 AM by Glutenboy »
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 11:38:15 AM »
I once read this about olive oil, and I believe the same applies to tomatoes..."the Italians keep the good stuff for themselves and send the %$# to us". I'll buy tomatoes grown in the good old U S of A!


Offline Kenny

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2012, 08:16:54 PM »
Good comments. Italian olive oil seems to say: from Spain...etc. right on the can I can't taste no difference. Crushed or peeled tomatoes- I buy different ones all the time they are very inconsistent do to crops & handling. New Jersey Italian brands are still good and cheap.

Offline Pizza3.14

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2012, 10:25:47 PM »
So which one of these is a can of actual San Marzanos? (perhaps neither) I just bought these at the store last night.  They were the options that looked the most authentic. 

Any thoughts?

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2012, 06:02:43 AM »
So which one of these is a can of actual San Marzanos? (perhaps neither) I just bought these at the store last night.  They were the options that looked the most authentic. 

Any thoughts?

Technically, only the Pastene is authentic, but the Cento contains authentic tomatoes. Cento had a problem with getting their can labels on time last year, and decided to skip the DOP labeling and put their own on. They are back with this year's lot using the DOP labeling. The Pastene has always been a favorite of mine, but their price has been over $5 lately and I refuse to pay that much. The Cento is a great product as well - $3.99 in my area.

John

John

Offline Pizza3.14

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2012, 06:49:57 AM »
John,

Thanks for the information.  I will be looking for the new labels.  Does anyone know about san marzanos being organic?  At the Co op in NH they offer them.  However after reading the article it seems they may be part of the 95% that are fake.  I thought I read on the VPN site that all san marzano tomatoes were organic. 

"The making of a “True Neapolitan Pizza” requires strict adherence to the culinary discipline of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana – from the preparation of raw ingredients to the cooking method in an approved wood fired oven. Only organic San Marzano DOP tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh herbs, and fresh yeast are permitted."  from Tutta Bella, a VPN certified pizza place in Seattle. 

Offline PizzaVera

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2012, 04:37:14 AM »


"The making of a “True Neapolitan Pizza” requires strict adherence to the culinary discipline of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana – from the preparation of raw ingredients to the cooking method in an approved wood fired oven. Only organic San Marzano DOP tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh herbs, and fresh yeast are permitted."  from Tutta Bella, a VPN certified pizza place in Seattle. 

this always got me thinking. if the VPN are so serious about authenticity then I think every pizza outside of Napoli fails the test then. as the Water in the dough is just as important an ingredient as the tomato, salt or flour imo
so who is importing Neapolitan water?
did I just come up with the next million dollar idea? hahahaha


Offline FeCheF

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2012, 09:35:32 AM »
so who is importing Neapolitan water?
did I just come up with the next million dollar idea? hahahaha


I dont know about neapolitan water, but i remember hearing about a frozen dough company using NY water as a selling point for their NY style pizza dough.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2012, 06:38:32 PM »
this always got me thinking. if the VPN are so serious about authenticity then I think every pizza outside of Napoli fails the test then. as the Water in the dough is just as important an ingredient as the tomato, salt or flour imo
so who is importing Neapolitan water?
did I just come up with the next million dollar idea? hahahaha


PizzaVera,

As I reported at Reply 8 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,5655.msg51717/topicseen.html#msg51717, at one time Naples 45 in New York did import water from Naples. It later went to a local source to chemically replicate the Naples water.

Peter

Online Pete-zza

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2012, 06:44:59 PM »
I dont know about neapolitan water, but i remember hearing about a frozen dough company using NY water as a selling point for their NY style pizza dough.


FeChef,

You might be thinking about the "Real New York Pizza Dough". Norma tested out their dough balls in the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13592.msg135537.html#msg135537.

Peter

Offline FeCheF

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2012, 09:29:48 PM »
FeChef,

You might be thinking about the "Real New York Pizza Dough". Norma tested out their dough balls in the thread at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13592.msg135537.html#msg135537.

Peter


Yep that was the company.
"Although pizza is made all thru the country,none can compare with an original new york pie for taste an texture. It is apparent that the use of New York City water results in producing the most delectable pizza.”

There ya have it folks, unless you live in new york, or have acess to new york water, lets just face it...your pizza sucks...lol

Offline Pizzamaster

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Re: San Marzano Scam???
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2012, 10:16:09 PM »
Tomatoes grown right here in Texas, or Florida, or California, or even New Jersey are just as good or better, and in most cases fresher than the supposed Italian grown ones anyway.

Same here. I never have bought into the gotta use premier this or that mindset. How it's made and goes together is more important to me.


 

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