The peculiarities of European and Italian tomatoes are linked to the traditions of the specific territories where they grow, and it is important to protect them as well as raise awareness of their characteristics so that the consumer can learn to recognise and appreciate them. To this end, the European Union has adopted policies for the promotion and enhancement of the quality and typical characteristics of some foods, and in the case of the tomato, the Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) label for the pomodoro S. Marzano DOP dell’agro sarnese-nocerino (Agro Sarnese-Nocerino San Marzano Tomato), grown in an area of fertile plains of volcanic origin, particularly rich in potassium carbonate, and with plentiful supplies of ground water and an efficient system of irrigation channels, as well as being close to the sea, all of which favour the farming of tomatoes, especially the elongated cylindrical variety which is suitable for canned whole peeled tomatoes.
Tomato processing begins with the sorting of the best tomatoes that are washed to eliminate any traces of earth or other unwanted materials. Then the most suitable fruit are sorted with the perfectly ripe and whole fruit chosen for processing. Next, the fruit is brought to a high temperature to separate the skin from the flesh, and then an optic sorter eliminates any damaged fruit, the stems and traces of skin. At this point in the production line, the tin cans are filled with the whole peeled tomatoes and their juice, and are vacuum-sealed to preserve their freshness and flavour. The next phase in the operation is sterilisation, which eliminates any micro-organisms that could alter the product. At the end of processing, the canned whole peeled tomatoes are ready for the final metres of the conveyor belt for labelling and packing in cartons. Next stop, home kitchens and gourmet restaurants all around the world.