Just days after the quality of Italian mozzarella was called into question with the country's biggest producer accused of adulterating his cheese, northern Italy's prosciutto is under the spotlight.

Police have seized some 2,300 hams and arrested a local producer who is said to have fed his pigs with animal waste.

The Parma, San Daniele and Modena hams were seized by carabinieri as part of Operation Trash Food. Officers swooped on dozens of facilities in the Emilia-Romagna and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions, where the hams were being seasoned and processed.

The value of hams seized in the operation was estimated to be €300,000 (£190,000).

Around 750 pigs and 30 tonnes of waste were also taken from the farm. An investigating judge in Mantua issued a warrant for all the ham produced by the farm in the last 15 months to be seized and examined. Andrea Genovesi, the owner of the suspect pig farm, is accused of commercial fraud, as well as participating in the illegal waste trade.

"There should be zero tolerance against those who take advantage of consumers," Fabio Ranieri, the secretary of the house agriculture committee, told Ansa news agency.

"Anyone who plays with the health of our people must end up in jail and, as far as I'm concerned, we can throw away the key".