(AGI) Rome, Sept 18 - Exports of Italian cheese and dairyproducts rose by 8 percent in the first half of 2015, due totheir international reputation for top quality. So says ananalysis by farmers' association Coldiretti published at Cheese2015, organised by Slow Food and the Piedmont town of Bra.About three-quarters of exported products are for the EUmarket, where there was an increase of 10 percent, and even 2percent in traditional competitor France. Outside Europe themain buyers are in the United States, with an 18 percentincrease, but Italian produce is also going down well in China,with a 39 percent rise. Encouraging results have been bolsteredby a rise in the number of cheeses with 'protected designationof origin' (PDO). Italy now has 48, overtaking France's 45 tobecome world leader in quality dairy production. If France'sCharles De Gaulle wondered how it was possible to govern acountry with more cheeses than days in the year, the situationwould certainly not have looked easier in Italy, which has 487cheeses in addition to the PDOs. They account for about halfthe milk produced by Italian farms - 45.5 percent, orapproximately 50 million quintals. Italy's advantage overFrance is even more striking in terms of quantity: double thePDO output (almost to 500 million kilos); more cheese movingfrom Italy to France, and less the other way. Yet Italians lieonly seventh in the world for per capita cheese consumption: 20.7 kilograms per person per year, beaten by France, Iceland,Finland, Germany, Estonia and Switzerland. And there is concernabout the quality of non-PDO cheeses sold in Italy, with almosthalf the mozzarella being made with foreign cow's milk orcurds, coming from uncontrolled, even unknown producersabroad..