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Earthquake hits Italy's balsamic vinegar producers
by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) May 29, 2012

The strong quake which struck Italy on Tuesday, killing 15 and destroying buildings, has also dealt a blow to Modena's balsamic vinegar industry -- days after a quake in the area hit Parmesan production.

The industry has suffered losses totalling 15 million euros ($18 million), according to the head of the traditional balsamic vinegar consortium Enrico Corsini, who said stocks had been "seriously damaged" as tremors hit the area.

The Pontirol company based in San Felice sul Panaro -- one of the worst-hit towns -- lost practically everything after its warehouses were flattened, while smaller warehouses owned by other producers were also badly damaged.

The 5.8 quake which struck Tuesday morning and the series of tremors of other 5.0 magnitude that followed "will bring the regional economy to its knees," Corsini said, adding that 200 businesses in the sector were affected.

The north of the Modena region, where the quake was felt particularly strongly, is home to dozens of balsamic vinegar producers. The consortium said some producers claimed to have lost over 100,000 litres of the costly delicacy.

The gourmet vinegar, sprinkled on salads and added to sauces the world over, can cost up to 1,500 euros a litre.

The Emilia Romagna region has some of Italy's richest farmland and is known for many delicacies including balsamic vinegar, Parmesan, Parma ham and Bolognese sauce, which are exported around the world.

Culinary production in the area suffered a heavy blow just 10 days ago when a 6.0 quake struck the same region, devastating Parmesan warehouses and costing the industry an estimated 200 million euros ($286 million).

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