An Italian TV presenter has called on consumers to boycott Italy's most famous tomato variety over claims that prices are being artificially inflated by the mafia.

Alessandro Di Pietro - a daytime TV presenter - claimed that, through the mafia controlling the distribution of the small Pachina tomato throughout Italy, Italians were having to pay up to 11 times more than the price which growers receive for the fruit.

Italian environment minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, asked RAI - the state network on which Di Pietro presents – to: "retract this absurd and damaging statement," claiming that it risked damaging the livelihoods of 5,000 tomato producers.

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