TEXT OF STORY
JEREMY HOBSON: The mafia has infiltrated the tomato market. In fact, Italians are being urged to boycott one of the most famous Tomato brands — from Sicily — in order to take money away from Italian organized crime.
The BBC’s Mark Duff has more from Milan.
MARK DUFF: If Tony Soprano went shopping for tomatoes he’d probably keep an eye out for the Pachino label. Pachinos are reputed to be the best of the bunch — and they aren’t cheap for shoppers to buy. But not all that money goes to the tomato farmer — allegations have now surfaced that most of the money goes to the mob.
In fact, when a shopper buys $5 worth of tomatoes, the growers typically receives less than 50 cents.
Alessandro di Pietro is a consumer advocate and TV personality in Italy.
ALESSANDRO DI PIETRO: There’s no doubt that every time we pay 11 times what we should, let’s be frank, we’re also putting money into the hands of organized crime.
Di Pietro cited Italy’s top anti-mafia prosecutor to back up his claims and then urged housewives to stop buying the Sicilian-grown tomatoes. That’s infuriated many Sicilians who’ve been trying for decades to shake off their island’s mafia stereotype.
But the country’s parliamentary anti-mafia commission is taking the allegation seriously. It says it’s going to investigate the claim.
In Milan, I’m the BBC’s Mark Duff for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.