The Italian agriculture minister Giovanni Alemanno has unveiled an ambitious plan to introduce a certification programme for foreign restaurants with Italian products on their menus.

Alemanno explained that a team of food inspectors will be sent to various eateries around the world with the intention of ensuring that the Italian dishes and ingredients are authentic. Certificates will only be issued to restaurants that serve al dente (firm) pasta and use Italian ingredients.

Bad Italian food served abroad, said Alemanno, is giving his country's cuisine a bad reputation.

Australian pasta giant San Remo insisted that the move is a marketing stunt by the Italian government. Chairman Aldo Crotti told ABC News that, in any case, Australia produces better pasta products than Italy since its wheat is grown in a "wide open field, [with] plenty of sun and no pollution."