- Title: What would the ancient Romans say about U.S. tariffs on their cheese?
- Date: 16th October 2019
- Summary: FIANO ROMANO, ITALY (RECENT - OCTOBER 14, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WORKER PUTTING SALT ON WHEEL OF FRESH PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE WORKER PUTTING WHEEL OF FRESH PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE INTO MOULD / WORKER PUTTING MOULD CONTAINING WHEEL OF FRESH PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE ON PALLET VIEW OF EXTERIOR OF DEROMA FARM AT DAWN SHEEP BLEATING LAMBS OWNER OF DEROMA FARM, PINO DEROMA, WALKING INSIDE SHEEP BARN AS SHEEP RUN WORKER DRIVING TRACTOR SHEEP INSIDE SHEEP BARN (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) OWNER OF DEROMA FARM, PINO DEROMA, SAYING: "Roman legions marched towards the conquest of the Empire and every soldier had in his haversack 27 grams (0.95 ounces) of Pecorino Romano cheese. This was the perfect food supply according to studies by the Romans, who taught organisation and administration to the whole world. 2,500 years ago this cheese joined the soldiers on their march." LAMBS AND SHEEP INSIDE SHEEP BARN VARIOUS OF SHEEP EATING HAY WORKER CHECKING SHEEP BEFORE MILKING VARIOUS OF SHEEP BEING MILKED LAMB LOOKING AT SHEEP BEING MILKED MILK BEING PUMPED BY MILKING MACHINE (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) OWNER OF DEROMA FARM, PINO DEROMA, SAYING: "I hope that the (President Donald Trump's administration potential new) tariffs (on EU products) will not be the 'coup de grace' for this sector, a sector that is already struggling with a lot of difficulties. It is clear that if exports are stopped, the locomotive of an entire sector will also stop and if the locomotive stops, the wagons will also stop, definitively undermining a sector that is not rich and which could have huge margins for improvement." MACHINE MIXING MILK DEROMA CHEESE FACTORY TECHNICAL MANAGER, CARLO DEROMA, LOOKING AT MILK BEING MIXED DEROMA CHECKING CURD VARIOUS OF CHEESE BEING PLACED INTO MOULDS VARIOUS OF DEROMA PUTTING CURD INTO TUB VARIOUS OF WORKERS PUTTING FRESH PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE INTO MOULDS (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) OWNER OF DEROMA FARM, PINO DEROMA, SAYING: "I really love this life because it is a free life, where you have direct contact with animals and nature and where you can still live with freedom. This freedom was the reason my father chose this life. I still breathe that life." ORTE, ITALY (RECENT - OCTOBER 14, 2019) (REUTERS) WHEELS OF AGED PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE WRAPPED IN PLASTIC DETAIL OF PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE CRUST VARIOUS OF AGED PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE WRAPPED IN PLASTIC FIANO ROMANO, ITALY (RECENT - OCTOBER 14, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SHEEP LEAVING SHEEP BARN VARIOUS OF PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE, SALVATORE PALITTA (CENTRE), WALKING WITH OWNER OF DEROMA FARM, PINO DEROMA, AND SALES MANAGER OF DEROMA CHEESE FACTORY, DANIELE DEROMA (WHITE SHIRT) SHEPHERD LOOKING AT SHEEP (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF PECORINO ROMANO CHEESE, SALVATORE PALITTA, SAYING: "Any market limitation is a defeat for free trade. We really rely on exports because 70% of the Pecorino Romano cheese goes into world markets, 52% goes to the North American market and such a hypothesis (of President Donald Trump's administration potential new tariffs on EU products) would have a devastating impact on the future of this product." VARIOUS OF SHEEP GRAZING IN FIELD
- Embargoed: 30th October 2019 09:45
- Keywords: Pecorino Romano sheep cheese U.S. tariffs
- Location: FIANO ROMANO AND ORTE, ITALY
- City: FIANO ROMANO AND ORTE, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Living / Lifestyle,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001B1CKDAF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Italy's hard and salty Pecorino Romano cheese was written about by the Latin author Pliny the Elder some 2,000 years ago as he described the daily ration of 27 grams (0.95 ounces) that were carried by Roman legionaries as they marched to war.
Fast forward thousands of years and the cheese is under attack from an unlikely foe, the possibility that U.S. tariffs will be imposed on it on Friday (October 18).
The World Trade Organization (WTO) formally authorised the United States on Monday (October 14) to impose tariffs on up to $7.5 billion of imports of EU goods after an arbitrator's decision over subsidies to planemaker Airbus.
For the Deroma family who run their Pecorino enterprise in Fiano Romano and Orte outside Rome under their family name, the tariffs could have a devastating effect, drastically cutting their export market.
Pino Deroma, one of the three family members who runs the business said it could be the 'coup de grace' (death blow) not only to their company but to their way of life.
Pecorino cheese is exclusively made from sheeps' milk and at 0530 every morning at the Deroma farm, the shepherd comes to feed the sheep before they are milked and then let out to pasture until late afternoon.
"I really love this life because it is a free life, where you have direct contact with animals and nature and where you can still live with freedom," explained Pino Deroma. "I still breathe that life," he said.
After the milk is collected a starter bacteria and rennet are added and the mixture is allowed to coagulate. The mixture formed is then broken into little pieces, curd is removed and cut in to pieces and put into molds. Once formed the Pecorino wheels are hand salted and transferred to a factory for seasoning which takes between five to eight months.
The survival of the Pecorino cheese sector is reliant on a healthy export market. According to figures from the Association for the Protection of Pecorino Romano cheese, 70 percent of the cheese produced in Italy goes into world markets, with 52 percent of that going to the North American market.
Slapping on tariffs would encourage less sales, endangering jobs and according to association President Salvatore Palitta "have a devastating impact on the future of this product."
For now producers are keeping a close eye on Friday hoping something will happen to stop the tariffs being put in to place. They are also urging the European Union to take extraordinary measures to make sure the tariffs do not have a traumatic impact on the industry.
(Production: Antonio Denti, Eleanor Biles)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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