The president of the Italian Agricultural Ministry, admitted last night that "Sun Dried" Tomatoes, the 'must have' ingredient in every trendy kitchen from New York to New Zealand, don't exist, but are due to a clerical error.
European Union investigations have revealed that an error in the translation of a food preparation manual, caused the phrase "Spun Dried Tomatoes" to be printed as "Sun Dried Tomatoes. An EU spokesman said today that spin drying tomatoes to extract the juices is a recognized way of preparing tomatoes in bulk, but the dry solids have always been of very little value, and have mainly gone into animal feeds.
The EU spokesman said that some restaurateurs, eager to present their customers with dishes made from the most novel ingredients, insisted on the "sun dried" tomatoes, and eventually a small number of producers decided to meet the demand.
Signore Alberti Spilletti, the President of the Italian Agricultural Ministry, told a committee of MEPs in Brussels that the spun dried tomato solids market is now worth US$4.2bn annually.
Signore Spilletti told the MEPs that if simply left out in the sun to dry, the tomatoes would very quickly turn moldy and rot, while demand for the solids increases by 18% every year.
The EU ethics committee will decide in the new year, whether to prosecute the producers, although this seems unlikely.