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Last Updated: Friday, 30 July, 2004, 14:25 GMT 15:25 UK
Tube pulls 'smelly food' poster
charcuterie
The poster portrayed a passenger surrounded by charcuterie
A poster warning about the problems of smelly food on London Underground is being pulled after it sparked a complaint from the Italian ambassador.

Giancarlo Aragona told transport bosses the poster of a passenger surrounded by salami and Parma ham depicted Italians in a derogatory way.

Italian embassy economic affairs chief Guido Carboni said it was "offensive and harmful to Italian products".

A London Underground spokesman said the poster was meant to be "light-hearted".

He apologised for "any offence to members of the Italian community and charcuterie manufacturers and retailers".

"Under no circumstances was it meant to cause offence to any nationality or company," the spokesman added.

We have no objection to the campaign about smelly food - but we object to the way it has been presented
Italian embassy economic affairs chief Guido Carboni

"We have immediately begun to remove the posters from the Tube network and they will all be removed very soon."

Mr Carboni said the ambassador had also expressed "disappointment" to London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Transport for London marketing executives.

"We have no objection to the campaign about smelly food - but we object to the way it has been presented.

"It is clearly harmful for Italian produce and also not very politically correct, because the man portrayed in the poster was clearly Italian or Mediterranean.

"It was very na´ve.

"Professional people should know these things and they should be more careful about them."

The aromas of our charcuterie products are the pride of Italian-made delicatessen foods, which other countries cannot make, and to which the British themselves are very partial
Italian Association of Meat and Charcuterie Businesses Director general Gianni Gorreri
Advertising executives had "obviously never eaten prosciutto" if they thought it was smelly, Mr Carboni added.

The Italian agriculture ministry said in a statement: "This campaign does not do any honour to whoever thought of it, and it damages Italy's image.

"Our meat products are of the highest quality and have pride of place on any table in the world."

A spokesman for the Italian Association of Meat and Charcuterie Businesses told the Il Sole newspaper it was sending a complaint to the EU Commission.

Director general Gianni Gorreri told the paper: "The aromas of our charcuterie products are the pride of Italian-made delicatessen foods, which other countries cannot make, and to which the British themselves are very partial.

"These advertisements are highly damaging to our interests and to those of Italian goods.

"We are consequently considering suing for damages to our image."

A spokesman for the Italian Foreign Trade Institute in London told Il Sole: "We would not have believed it if we had not seen the posters with our own eyes."




SEE ALSO:
Country profile: Italy
07 Jul 04  |  Country profiles
Advert's Franco pun causes upset
21 Jul 03  |  Education
Tube bans animal welfare poster
19 Feb 03  |  England


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