by Staff Writers
San Giovanni In Persiceto, Italy (AFP) May 21, 2012
Parmesan crushed underfoot at a devastated warehouse in Italy filled with the precious cheese after a quake estimated to have cost farmers 200 million euros ($286 million).
Stacks piled high with thousands of wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano lay toppled like dominoes at Azienda Caretti -- one of three dairies damaged by Sunday's 6.0-magnitude quake which has been followed by dozens of aftershocks.
"It's a race against time," sighed owner Oriano Caretti, as he inspected the extensive damage, stepping gingerly to avoid falling cheeses in the vast parmesan-scented warehouse -- about the size of a football field.
"We have to try and sort the intact ones from the damaged ones," he said.
The Italian Farming Confederation estimates that around 130,000 wheels of certified Parmigiano Reggiano and the less-exclusive Grana Padano have been damaged, saying that loss alone would be around 40 million euros.
Another farm group, Coldiretti, said around 400,000 wheels had been damaged.
The most affected Parmesan wheels have been the less seasoned ones -- with around six months of maturation. Farmers said the damaged wheels will be inspected for food safety standards and could then be sold as grated cheese.
The Emilia Romagna region, where the quake killed six people and caused extensive damage to historic buildings has some of Italy's richest farmland.
The area is known for many delicacies incluing Parmesan, Parma ham, balsamic vinegar from Modena and Bolognese sauce, which are exported around the world.
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North Koreans in rice belt starve to death: report
Seoul (AFP) May 21, 2012
Food shortages have worsened in North Korea, even in the southwestern rice belt where some residents have starved to death, a Seoul-based online newspaper said Monday. "Because of worsening food shortages this year there were reports of people starving to death even in South and North Hwanghae provinces," a Daily NK reporter told AFP, referring to the country's agricultural heartland. Si ... read more
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