Italy’s Secret Weapon: Cheese With Microchips

Technology Protects Classic Italian Cheese

Parmesan cheese. Credit: Borntobe1/

In an effort to combat fakes, cheese manufacturers in Italy are going to extraordinary lengths to protect their brand.

In Emilia Romagna, Italy, a surprising revelation was made about the famous Parmigiano Reggiano, writes 20 Minutos.

The Microchip Initiative

If the next time you enjoy a slice of parmesan cheese you notice a strange element on the crust, it’s likely a microchip. But don’t fret, it’s proof that it is a genuine Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy and not a fake.

Manufacturers of the renowned Italian cheese have embedded these tiny devices into the cheese rinds to track the product and combat counterfeits.

‘We continue to fight with new methods,’ recently stated Alberto Pecorari of the Parmesan Consortium to the Wall Street Journal, warning that ‘we won’t give up.’

Ensuring Authenticity

The chips are harmless and shouldn’t be consumed as they’re placed on the cheese’s outer part. When the cheese is scanned, the devices identify a serial number verifying the Parmigiano Reggiano’s authenticity. Moreover, these microchips employ blockchain to trace the cheese wheel back to the milk’s origin.

These small devices, produced by the American company p-Chip, can’t be read remotely or used to track individuals who ingest them. In the second quarter of 2022, the Italian company responsible for the cheese’s production piloted a project with over 100,000 cheeses, yielding positive outcomes.

Protecting the Origin

The original parmesan is officially protected by the European Union, meaning the name can only be used for the genuine product. This cheese must be produced in the Italian region of Emilia Romagna, from which it derives its name, must weigh forty kilograms, and its maturation period is at least one year.

Parmesan cheese, known for its hard texture and rich flavour, has ancient roots. Historical records show that it was already popular over eight centuries ago, with monks in the Parma-Reggio region of Italy producing it as early as the 12th century. Its long maturation process contributes to its unique taste and granular texture

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.