NEWS » Smartphone app spots fakes

Smartphone app spots fakes

A new smartphone app is going to protect made in Italy products by helping consumers spot the difference between genuine Italian products and foreign fakes.

The app was created by non-profit organisation Reliabitaly and it can be used in Italy or abroad giving also information on how the item was made.

Reliability has committed to reinvest 100 percent of revenues in the promotion of authentic made in Italy products, its aim being to combat fake Made in Italy.

The app uses bar codes to determine whether a product has been verified by them as being of Italian origin. When users scan the item they also get more information about its production methods, including photos, videos and technical details.

The Counterfeiting of Italian products is a massive problem which doesn’t stop with food but affects also design, fashion and craftsmanship. The “Italian sounding” phenomenon (products using Italian names or images of Italy to pretend they are of Italian origins) generates a loss of about 60 billion per year with heavy consequences on occupation. Selling original products instead of the counterfeit was estimated would generate 300,000 job places.

Protecting made in Italy is crucial to the national economy as it is worth €13.5 billion a year, while for example online sales of foreign fake parmesan alone cost the country €60 million each year. For this treason, last year, Italy toughened laws over olive oil packaging, making it compulsory to state on packaging where non-Italian olives had been added, and banning misleading use of Italian symbols such as the national flag. This happened because tracing back the origins of products claiming being “made in Italy” has been often very difficult. Labels denoting the origin were either absent or almost impossible to read.

It's up to manufacturers to decide whether to sign up to the “Reliabitaly” application, therefore the app's database is still a work in progress. The organisation admits that some genuine Italian goods may not be in its database of certified products, as it's a voluntary process for manufacturers. The new app won't just detect food fraud, consumers can also check the origins of clothes, accessories and other items that claim to be Italian, such as leather or fake Murano glass.

Giulia Lombardo

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