All About Pasta

“Made in Italy”

No, not really. Pasta the symbol of the food and wine tradition of Italy, is not truly “Made in Italy,” not all of it at least.

In 2018 the pasta market underwent many changes; from new laws, to public opinion protestations, to agreements between the major players in the sector. Last February, in fact, came into force the decree that calls for new labels for pasta. Labels must specify the country of origin/cultivation of wheat.

The Wheat

The sticking point was the presence of “glyphosate” in pasta, used as a herbicide in wheat. According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the herbicide has not proved  to be ”carcinogenic” or capable of negatively influencing reproduction, but it can cause serious damage to the eyes and to be toxic. While the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), argues that: glyphosate belongs to the 2A group (“probable carcinogens“). This has raised concern from consumers, pushing one of the largest giants of production of pasta in Italy, Barilla, to cut by 35% grain imports from Canada (where glyphosate is used during pre-harvest).

Keeping consumer confidence is therefore one of the major objectives of pasta producers. Therefore we can ask why pasta is not produced only using wheat grown within the national borders?


Italy produces about 4 million tons of durum wheat a year, compared to a need of 6 million. This difference in quantity needed for production leads some companies to look for wheat abroad, in order to sustain the demand both for the domestic consumption and export.

Pasta production today is close to 15 million tons, up 3% over last year. All this in order to cope with an increasingly massive global consumption of pasta. Germany, UK, France, USA and Japan are the countries that most prefer a pasta “Made in Italy,” while there are increases in demands by Russia (+ 76%), Holland (+ 29%), Saudi Arabia ( + 27%) and Australia (+ 16%).


What are the brands that produce pasta with 100% Italian wheat; below some of the brands most likely to be present abroad:

  • Agnesi
  • La Molisana
  • Pasta Mancini
  • Pasta Toscana
  • Rummo, linea integrale
  • Valle Del Grano
  • Voiello

In fairness this is the entire list of producers which use 100% Italian wheat:

Agnesi, Alce Nero, Amoreterra, Antonio Amato, Azienda Agricola Caccese, Baronìa, Casa Prencipe, Fratelli Minaglia, Gentile, Ghigi, Girolomoni, Granoro, La Molisana, Liguori, Martelli, Pasta Armando, Pasta Coop linea Fior Fiore, Pasta Despar Premium, Pasta Mancini, Pasta Toscana, Pastificio Benedetto Cavalieri, Pastificio Di Martino, Pastificio Dei Campi, Pastificio Graziano, Pastificio Nicola Russo, Pastificio Sgambaro, Rummo, Verrigni, Valle Del Grano, Voiello.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

8 thoughts on “All About Pasta

  1. Interesting article! These days it’s hard to know where your food comes from. My pet peeve is garlic from China. We grow so much garlic locally that it is beyond my comprehension why we would sell Chinese garlic in local stores. Olive oil “from Italy” is usually a blend of oils from Greece, Turkey and God knows where. I am definitely for more precise origin labeling,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too in fact! I thought De Cecco (the spaghetti can is pictured), was a 100% Italian wheat, but evidently no. Along with Barilla, De Cecco is very popular in USA.
      On the olive oil I think it is also interesting to take a closer look. But there are so many brands Thad t it is difficult to get the full pictures. It will take time but I’ll make a research on that too sooner or later.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a feeling that under the European law if it says Italian oil , it has to be from Italian olives. I remember a guy from my town , an olive oil producer , who ended up in jail for mixing his olives with some from Greece. It will be good if you can find out more about it!


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