Packets of ‘Prosecco chips’ under the Pringles brand were seized from shops belonging to a supermarket chain in the Veneto region, Italy’s agriculture ministry said this week.
Police from an anti-fraud unit that deals specifically with food, the ICQRF, seized hundreds of packs of the crisps over the alleged misuse of the word Prosecco, which is a protected name under Italian and EU law.
‘We cannot allow identity theft,’ said Italy’s agriculture minister, Teresa Bellanova.
The Ministry said that the snacks, which claimed to contain Prosecco flavouring, had used the name of the popular sparkling wine without approval from Prosecco appellation authorities.
Luca Zaia, the president of Veneto, posted a photo of a ‘Prosecco and pink peppercorn’ pack of Pringles on his Facebook page on Tuesday (15 October), overlaid with the word ‘no’ in capital letters and in red.
‘We can no longer tolerate that a protected name be used without authorisation,’ he wrote.
The Agriculture Ministry said it believed the packets seized had been bought from a Dutch company. It did not name the Venetian supermarket chain.
A spokesperson for the Pringles brand said in a statement reported by several media outlets that the ‘prosecco and pink peppercorn’ flavour was produced as a limited edition ahead of Christmas in 2018.
The statement said that Prosecco DOC was used as an ingredient and that all DOC guidelines and European regulations were followed, but the brand added that ‘we have no plans to produce this variant in future’.