Italy bans kebabs and foreign food from cities citing cultural protection

Foreign foods such as kebabs are being kicked out of Italian cities as it becomes the target of a campaign against ethnic food, backed by the center-right government of Silvio Berlusconi.

In the town of Lucca, the council recently banned new ethnic food outlets from operating within the city walls. In Lombardy and its regional capital, Milan, the anti-immigrant Northern League party brought the restrictions in order “to protect local specialties form the growing popularity of ethnic cuisines.”

Minister of Agriculture Luca Zaia backed the initiatives, saying “we stand for tradition and the safeguarding of our culture.” Renowned chef Vittoro Castelllani condemned the moves, saying that there is “no dish on earth that does not come from mixing techniques, products, and tastes from cultures that we have met and mingled over time.” He cited the moves as xenophobic and indicative of growing intolerance. It was also a blow to immigrants who make their living by making and selling ethnic food. Staples to Italian cuisine, it is believed that the tomato was an import from Peru, and pasta was an import from China.

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