Italy wants pizza put on UNESCO's cultural heritage list

850,000 pizza lovers worldwide have supported the decision

Updated: 
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Italy is seeking UNESCO recognition for its Neapolitan pizza after putting the iconic dish forward for inclusion on the cultural heritage list for 2017.

In a statement, the Italian National Commission for UNESCO said Neapolitan pizza is a part of the country's cultural and gastronomic tradition which "represents Italy in the world".

A petition which collected more than 850,000 signatures worldwide boosted the proposal.

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Culture Minister Dario Franceschini told ANSA: "Becoming world heritage isn't just the way to recognise a true art, but also the way to claim pizza as Italian."

The proposal will now be sent to UNESCO and begin a long, complex negotiation process involving 200 countries.

According to The Local, Pierluigi Petrillo, the legal editor for the dossier, said it would be especially challenging because "UNESCO has never listed a cultural tradition linked to food production".

According to the rules proposed by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, genuine Neapolitan pizza dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer and must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine. After the rising process, it must not be more than three millimetres thick and must be baked for 60 to 90 seconds in a 485C stone oven.

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