An industry source in Rome said he doubts that any of the polluted wine has reached the United States. The Italian Wine and Food Institute, which represents Italian wine exporters in New York, was quoted here as saying that all Italian wine shipped to the United States is subjected to strict quality control in order to win the Italian government's seal of approval.
Italy ships more wine to the United States than any other wine-producing nation, but most of its wine exports go to France and Germany, in that order, much of it in bulk for use in cutting domestic wines with higher-alcohol Italian varieties.
It is far worse in scale than the scandal that virtually eliminated Austrian wines from the market last year. Some Austrian wine makers were found to have added ethylene glycol, a toxic, sweetening element, to their wines, and the discovery wiped out export sales. Ethylene glycol is also used in antifreeze. There were no known fatalities from the tainted Austrian wine.