• Short Summary

    Eating in Italy goes from one extreme to another. Gourmets have scarcely recovered from the?

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    Eating in Italy goes from one extreme to another. Gourmets have scarcely recovered from the latest deprivations of the Great Pasta Shortage, when the Government launches a campaign to persuade Italians to eat less of everything.

    A national television series called "As it is" has been mocking compulsive eaters - showing candid camera shots of gluttons stuffing themselves, then featuring nutritional experts debating the merits of properly balance meal.

    The country's Agriculture Department has been backing the television series. It has set aside three-and-a-half million pounds (nearly nine million US dollars) for a big brain-washing campaign to change Italy's eating habits.

    Prime target is beef. Italy has to import half its beef consumption, and that adds to an inflation rate currently running at 26 per cent. The campaign sings the praises of home-produced chickens, cheese and -- shortages permitting -- pasta to fill the protein gap left by the missing beef.

    It's also part of the campaign plan to encourage Italians to economies on their diet generally. The television programme reported that the intake of calories by the average Italian is a third higher then the recommended level. More remarkable, it was revealed that the "average" Italian family spends 46 percent of its income on food.

    While the programme has trotted out similar statistics for public consumption, the Agriculture Department had been looking ahead and predicts that Italy will face severe food shortages by 1976 unless there are rapid changes in the country's food growing patterns.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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    Available on request
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