Parmigiano Reggiano Makers Are Using Tiny Trackers to Fight Cheese Fraud

Cheese fraud is currently a $2.08 billion market.


Just because you think you're eating Parmigiano Reggiano doesn't mean that you actually are. According to Food & Wine, while authentic sales total around $2.44 billion, fraudulent cheese is a $2.08 billion industry.

But now, the cheese's official trade group, the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, is using new technology to fight this ongoing fraud. The Consortium has partnered with Kaasmerk Matec, the leading producer of casein cheese marks, and digital tracing company p-Chip to embed tiny, food-safe trackers in the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano wheels, the outlet reports.

"The innovation combines food-safe Casein labels with the p-Chip micro transponder—a blockchain crypto-anchor that creates a digital 'twin' for physical items. This scannable new food tag is smaller than a grain of salt and highly durable, delivering next-generation visibility and traceability," the Consortium said. 

The new tracking labels will be tested on 100,000 cheese wheels later this year as part of the Consortium's final trial run. 

"By integrating p-Chip micro transponders into Casein tags, [the Consortium] can better control its inventory, protect and differentiate its products against look and sound-alike brands and have access to unmatchable track-and-trace technology to protect itself in the case of recalls or other issues," CEO of p-Chip Corporation Joe Wagner said in the announcement.

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Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.