Italian police has shut down a mozzarella factory and arrested 13 people in the Campania region after finding that prized local buffalo milk was being cut with cheaper imported cow milk.
Authorities also found that the cheese, produced near the southern town of Caserta, contained as much as 20 times permissible levels of bacteria, said Carabinieri Police Maj. Alfonso Pannone.
Apparently, the cheese factory knew what it was doing was illegal because it had two public health service agents tipping them off to whenever a health and safety inspection would be carried out. In fact, the factory is said to be so unsafe to work at that one worker lost his fingers due to safety violations. Police arrested the crooked public health service officials in addition to 11 other people from the mozzarella factory.
Police on Monday also shut down seven stores selling the cheese in the Campania region which includes Naples.
Milky white buffalo mozzarella is prized by Italians and tourists. It carries a special label supposed to guarantee quality and protect its reputation.
The probe began after a worker lost some of his fingers because of safety flaws.