The San Marzano tomato is a rare and highly sought after ingredient due to its scarcity, and the fact that it is a required ingredient to be designated as Vera Pizza Napoletana (True Neopolitan Pizza). Sadly, other tomatoes or tomato products are involved in food fraud scams as being San Marzano tomatos since true San Marzano tomatoes are so scarce.
This particular tomato hails from the town of San Marzano sul Sarno near Naples, Italy, grown in the volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius. The biological properties of these tomatoes make them ideal for use in sauces, having fewer seed pockets than other plum tomato varieties, as well as a sweeter flavor profile. True San Marzano tomatoes have their own stringent guidelines on cultivation with their own DOP in Italy, so all tomatoes labeled as San Marzano must comply with these regulations.
Sadly, counterfeit San Marzano tomatoes can be found worldwide, with several brands even available on store shelves here in the United States. Commanding a much higher price by virtue of being labeled as San Marzano tomatoes, many companies around the world will forge DOP certificates, leave the crates unlabeled, or make no attempt to hide the scam, relying solely on the San Marzano name to confuse shoppers.
Food fraud is a widespread issue (and not just with tomatoes), but third-party ingredient validation can detect and reduce these instances. Contact us to learn more!