A pizza said to possess anti-ageing properties has triggered controversy in Italy.

The Primula pizza, made from wholemeal flour and raw vegetables, has been created by a nutritionist and bio-chemist at the University of Naples and a local restaurant owner.

They claim the Primula has three times more fibre than traditional pizza and is richer in magnesium and iron. The eight vegetables in its recipe, including garlic, courgettes and spinach, are said to contain anti-ageing antioxidants.

One Italian newspaper reports that the Primula has proved a hit with Pope Benedict XVI who is said to have tasted it at a gathering in honour of the Vatican's police force.

However, the pizza has angered the Real Neopolitan Pizza Association, which claims the Primula goes against years of tradition.

It points out that the use of wholemeal flour prevents the pastry from rising and creating the crust which is the trademark of the Neopolitan pizza.