Ever wondered why the delicious meals you have on holiday in Italy - grassy olive oil, sweet Balsamic, salty prosciutto, intense Parmesan - so rarely resemble anything you might order in some Italian restaurants here?

The answer could be because the ingredients they use have never set foot in their so-called country of origin.

Some well-known Italian restaurant chains in Scotland are running cookery demonstrations using sansa, the dregs left behind after good oil has been extracted from olives. It's cheaper than cheap at around £1 for ten litres, as opposed to around £8 for a good bottle of olive oil; and it tastes like it (in fact, some say it's positively bad for your health).

Another well-known brand of olive oil pretends it's Italian without actually saying it is. Its bottles have labels that carry the Italian flag, photos of olives and a name ending in -ina, but the oil inside isn't necessarily Italian. Similarly, the prosciutto wrapped around your melon or strewn artfully over a bed of mozzarella could actually be from pigs reared in Holland. Balsamic can be plain vinegar sweetened with caramel in the UK rather than in Modena. And "parmesan" shavings might actually be Grana Padano or something way cheaper.

Food fraud in Italian restaurants around the world is being addressed with the introduction of an accreditation scheme called Ospitalita Italiana. Those that comply with set quality standards are awarded the distinctive yellow Q certification for consumers to see.

The percentage of traditional Italian dishes and recipes should not be less than 50 per cent of the total dishes on the menu, and the main products used (pasta, vegetables, cheese, sausage, coffee) must be Italian. Chefs must be qualified in the preparation of dishes and Italian recipes; the wine list must contain 30 per cent Italian PDO or PGI wines; and the restaurant must offer only Italian extra virgin olive oil.

A number of independent family-owned Scots-Italian restaurants are already Q accredited, and source their produce directly from Italy.

VisitScotland's Taste Our Best accreditation scheme means establishments source food locally and Scottish produce is highlighted on menus. Together with the Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) scheme, it helps raise the profile of regional Scots produce to an international audience - in Scotland.

This raises the question of whether the few Scottish restaurants around the world use ingredients produced in Scotland (the long-standing US ban on Scotch beef and haggis imports notwithstanding). One New York Scottish eaterie serves a selection of Scottish sounding dishes like Cockaleekie and "thistle-honey free-range chicken" but doesn't state the provenance of ingredients. Another in Melbourne, Australia, serves "Scotch sausage".

Conversely, the high-end international chefs helping push Scottish food exports over the £1 billion mark for the first time put their provenance on the menu even though they don't have to.

The renowned American chef Thomas Keller, of the three Michelin starred Per Se and The French Laundry in New York, for example, actively seeks out Scottish seafood and seafish, and name-checks it as such, even though he has his pick from around the globe. The inference is that Scottish equates quality.

Would rolling out our Taste Our Best accreditation scheme internationally to match Italy's Q scheme help Scotland's global foodie profile? It's food for thought.