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Cheese Manufacturing in the Twentieth Century

The Italian Experience in an International Context


Edited By Rita Maria Michela d'Errico, Claudio Besana and Renato Ghezzi

Since the end of the nineteenth century the dairy sectors of some industrialised European and American countries have experienced a phase of growth that took place at a different rate and in a different manner in each country, and which was made possible by the availability of raw materials and a more widespread knowledge of scientific and technological methods. The sector’s expansion was favoured by a revolution in transport networks, the beginning of globalisation in world markets and, decisively, by advances in packaging and refrigeration techniques. Italy in particular, despite its low availability of raw materials compared to other countries, rose quickly throughout the last century to become one of the largest international producers and exporters of cheese, especially of high value PDO cheeses. What factors were behind this achievement and which were the strengths and weaknesses of the sector during the twentieth century? The articles presented in this volume attempt to provide an answer to these questions from different points of view and using different interpretative approaches. The geographical range covered by these studies also reaches beyond Italy in order to look at other countries with relatively ancient dairy traditions. This comparative approach, although limited to just a few countries, is important in that it allows us to describe the evolution of a milk and dairy sector which has had such a large influence on the economic life of many regions in the Italian peninsula.

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European Food Issues

For several decades now, our attention has been drawn to expanding agricultural output and the proliferation of powerful food companies. At the same time, in the process of European integration, the adoption of the Codex Alimentarius (1963), the Food Law (2002), and the recognition of PGIs for many products have contributed to the creation of a common European “food space”. Today, these systems of supply and distribution have between them given Europeans quite varied dietary possibilities. This situation stems from various developments, linking the economic to the technical and amounting to a long-term trend. Cultural issues bear upon this, whether culinary transmission from generation to generation or the increasingly diverse catering sector, and political decisions also contribute through the establishment of standards and regulations. Hence, traditions and ruptures, innovations and continuities are permanently unsettling the European diet. Using original sources, doctoral theses, conference papers, monographs and testimonies, this series examines historical developments at the national scale and also, more generally, in a transnational perspective. The series hopes to make a significant contribution to understanding the processes of food innovation, which are powerful factors of difference and identity in contemporary Europe.

Series editors:

Antonella CAMPANINI, Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomische, Pollenzo (Italia)

Peter SCHOLLIERS, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (België)

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