The brands of Parmigiano Reggiano are pierced all around the circumference and feature detailed information hereafter described:
- Brands of origin, repeatedly stamped when Parmigiano Reggiano wheels are made.
- Brands of selection: stamped once, after quality audit performed by “Consorzio”.
Brands of origin
At the end of their first day of life, every single wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano is wrapped in a pinned Teflon belt which pierces it with the following brands:
- "PARMIGIANO REGGIANO": pinned brand repeatedly stamped around the outer rind;
- The identification numberissued by “Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano” that distinctively identifies one production site. 4 Madonne Caseificio dell’Emilia owns different sites matched with different identification numbers, namely: #1240 (Lesignana), #181 (Arceto). #1086 (Varana).
- Month and year of production: placed below identification number;
- EC seal: a health approval which entitles to sale and proves regularity of all processes;
- D.O.P.: (Denominazione Origine Protetta) means Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) proves that cheese was made in the restricted, authorized area entirely embracing Modena, Reggio Emilia, Parma and, partially, Bologna and Mantua.
The date of production comes with the so-called “caseine tag”, an authentic ID stamped on top of each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, featuring:
- The CFPR(Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano) acronym;
- A distinctiveidentification serial number;
- DATAMATRIX label for scanning.
Auditing and brand of selection
After 12 months of maturation, experts from “Consorzio di tutela del Parmigiano Reggiano” will audit every single wheel. They carry out a “knocking inspection” in order to verify that cheese complies with required parameters to become Parmigiano Reggiano DOP.
If cheese passes the test, it is fire-stamped with an oval, indelible “CONSORZIO DI TUTELA”brand of selection.
Not all wheels will pass the test, though. Some are faulty but don’t’ feature organoleptic impairments and fall into second choice category a.k.a. “mezzano”: they will be still fire-branded and additionally scored with indelible, parallel grooves all around circumference.
Parmigiano Reggiano wheels with evident defects, will not pass the inspection and become degraded: all brands of origin will be removed and the external rind whitened by means of milling.