France has declared war on a humble interloper – the cheap imported Chinese truffle – which it says is destroying the reputation of its proud culinary traditions.

Imports of the Chinese variety have trebled in the last few years and are being increasingly passed on as genuine French truffles.

Virtually indistinguishable visually, the Chinese Tuber indicum is increasing being added to boxes of Tuber melanosporum (Périgord truffle) in a bid to fool buyers. France has now stepped in with DNA analysis to distinguish French fungi from the Chinese ones.

French truffles sell for US$ 2,300 a kilo, while China’s are available 80 US$ wholesale.