Cheese Producers Use Edible Microchips To Protect Against Knockoffs


Parmigiano-Reggiano producers have had enough.  For years Italian producers of parmesan cheese have been fighting against imitation or counterfeit products that have been eating into market share and profits.  As the demand for authentic, high-end cheese grows, so does the knock-off market with estimated global sales for counterfeit cheese now reaching $2 billion annually.  The need for more reliable product protection solutions has caused other European producers to jump on the bandwagon and take positive steps to protect their brand names against fakes. 

Introduction of p-Chip Microtransponders

Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano has taken the first step by introducing p-Chip crypto anchors into the production process to safeguard their product from copycats.  The p-Chip microtransponders, about the size of a grain of sand, are embedded by a robot who heats the food-safe casein label and imbeds the chip next to QR codes on the rind of the cheese. When they are scanned by a laser reader, it gives a specific, unique serial ID that verifies the authenticity of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel. “They serve as durable, scannable food tags that act as digital anchors, enabling producers to trace the products origin and path through the supply chain.” The chips cannot be read remotely.

Guaranteeing food authenticity is a big business in the European Union and more than 3500 EU products have received protected status in addition to Italys Parmigiano, including Greek feta cheese, French Champagne and Italian Param raw ham.” 

The market is worth approximately $87 billion and continues to grow.  Since these protected products fetch premium prices (often double those of similar but unprotected products), the market in Europe and elsewhere is loaded with fakes. Some estimates put the market for counterfeit products at the same size as the originals.

More on the p-Chip

The silicon microtransponder chip is about 500 square microns in size and is made by p-Chip located in Chicago, Illinois.  These chips have been in advanced testing on more than 100,000 Parmigiano wheels for over a year.  “The consortium of producers wants to be sure that the chips can stand up to Parmigiano’s aging requirement which is a minimum of one year and can exceed three years in some varieties. 

According to Bill Eibon, Chief Technology Officer at p-Chip, “the p-chips can withstand extreme heat or cold, can be read through ice and can withstand years of storage in liquid nitrogen. They have outperformed RFID chips which are larger and can be more difficult to attach to products, are more fragile and can’t survive extreme temperatures.”


  1. “Cheesed-off Italians microchip parmesan to tackle fraudsters” by James Imam, August 17, 2023,
  2. “Cheese and chips: parmesan producers fight fakes with microtransponders” by Joanna PartridgeAugust 18, 2023,
  3. Widespread News Coverage: Microchips Revolutionize Food Tracking and Tracing,



製品を偽物から守るための第一歩として、パルメジャーノ・レッジャーノ・チーズ生産者組合がp-Chip社の提供する超小型チップを生産時に埋め込むことにしました。p-Chipは砂粒ほどの大きさのマイクロトランスポンダーです。乳タンパクで作られるカゼインラベルを加熱するロボットによって、チーズの外皮に貼られるQRコードの隣に埋め込まれます。レーザーでスキャンして読み取ると、固有のシリアルIDが分かるため、パルミジャーノ・レッジャーノのホイールが本物かどうかを確認できます。「耐久性がありスキャン可能な食品タグで、これがデジタルアンカーとして機能することで、製品の原産地やサプライチェーンの経路を生産者が追跡できるようになります」と、p-Chip社のウェブサイトは説明しています。 このタグをリモートアクセスで読み取ることはできません。

ウォール・ストリート・ジャーナル は、次のように説明しています。「食品の真正性の保証は一大ビジネスとなっており、イタリアのパルミジャーノに加え、ギリシャのフェタチーズやフランスのシャンパン、イタリアのパルマハムなど、3500以上のEU商品が保護の認証を受けている」。






  1. Cheesed-off Italians microchip parmesan to tackle fraudsters」(うんざりしたイタリア生産者が偽物対策でパルメザンにマイクロチップを使用)、著:James Imam2023817日、
  2. Cheese and chips: parmesan producers fight fakes with microtransponders」(チーズとチップ:マイクロトランスポンダーで偽物と闘うパルメザン生産者)、著:Joanna Partridge2023818日、

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