“Unscrupulous” French chefs are spraying cheap Chinese truffles with synthetic aromas to make them smell like the more expensive and upmarket Black French variety.
According to AFR, French growers are frustrated with chefs that are “doping” truffles from China and the Himalayan foothills, worth €30 ($40) per kilo, to make them look like black French truffles from Périgord, that sell for around €500 ($767) per kilo.
“We are in competition with bad chefs who take Chinese truffles and spray them with scents without informing customers,” said Michel Santinelli, head of the French truffle growers federation for the Provence-Alpes-Cote d/Azur region, which last week signed a protocol with the government to raise awareness on the different types of truffles available.
Cultivators are also calling for Asian imports to be labelled as “exotic invasive species.”
According to AFR, an inquiry by France’s consumer fraud body in 2012 found that between 10 and 15 percent of the samples seized and sold as Périgord truffles were actually “doped” Chinese imports.
As part of the protocol signed by the French government, a grant of €20,000 will be provided annually for seven years to help develop the truffle industry, which is struggling to maintain production of 50 tons per year, especially considering 25 tons a year of Chinese truffles are imported annually.
To guard against any contamination involving “fake truffles,” the American Truffle Company takes significant steps to guarantee that the inoculum we use and the truffles we sell are 100% the correct species by meticulously identifying every truffle that comes through our door. For our client-partners who are growing truffles, this is where ATC’s unique partnership relationship really makes a difference. We are heavily invested in your producing the real thing, so we make significant efforts to ensure the purity of our inoculum material.