MONTREAL - A public-relations stew involving pasta has pushed the Quebec government to re-examine its recipe for handling alleged violations of the province's language law.

Stories about overzealous employees of the provincial language watchdog have multiplied in recent days, following the report about an Italian restaurant being reprimanded for having Italian on its menu.

The co-called Pastagate story received a whopping 60 times more news coverage outside the province than a recent trip where Premier Pauline Marois tried drumming up foreign investment in the province, according to a media-analysis company.

The government moved Monday to turn the page.

Diane De Courcy, the minister responsible for Quebec's Charter of the French Language, announced an internal review aimed at improving the performance of the Office quebecois de la langue francaise.

"Unfortunately, the results of certain inquiries have lent themselves, with reason, to very severe criticism," she said in a statement on Monday.

"This is not desirable, not for the businesses, not for the Office personnel, not for francophones or anglophones."

She said her department will act quickly to see how complaints about language-law violations can be handled "without creating initial irritants."

"Pastagate" stems from a visit by an inspector for the Office quebecois de la langue francaise to a trendy Montreal restaurant.

Buonanotte owner Massimo Lecas was told after an investigation that the menu violated Quebec's language law and that Italian terms such as pasta had to be replaced with French-language equivalents.

The story burned up social and mainstream media and the Office relented, admitting the inspector was overzealous and should have considered a cultural exception contained in the language law.

But that story has prompted a number of other restaurants, including some famous ones, to go public with complaints about similar dealings with the OQLF.

The head of a company that does media analysis says the story about the crackdown on Buonanotte, which is popular with sports and entertainment stars as well as politicians, got significantly more coverage in out-of-province news reports than a recent trip where the premier promoted Quebec.

"Every time the media mentioned, as an example, the visit of Pauline Marois in New York, we got 60 mentions for the Pastagate," said Jean-Francois Dumas, president of Influence Communication, when asked to compare the public-relations impact.

While most of the stories were in Canada, Pastagate was chronicled in 350 articles in 14 countries, as far away as Australia, when it broke last week.

"It's in the traditional media," he said of the news outlets that picked up the story.

"I mean all the newspapers, radio, TV and the web version of traditional media."

Influence, which has been operating for 12 years, looks at coverage in 160 countries with its partners. It tracks traditional and social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Dumas noted that the Pastagate coverage comes after a period of negative news out of the province that included sometimes-rowdy student protests, investigations into political corruption and lurid crime such as the case of alleged dismemberment killer Luka Rocco Magnotta.

In the same week as Pastagate grabbed headlines, the media was also abuzz with an alleged incident of police brutality in Trois-Rivieres, Que., that was apparently caught on camera and went viral, including on CNN.

It's been a humbling few months, news-wise, he said.

"We're not proud of Quebec right now," he said, adding that the TV and phone-in show coverage in the rest of the country of Pastagate is "embarrassing" for Quebecers.

Dumas says the coverage probably won't scare off investors, a belief that was echoed by Carlos Leitao, chief economist for the Laurentian Bank.

"I don't think it has any meaningful impact on business decisions," he said of negative coverage.

"Having said that, if it persists, if it continues, if there are several news (stories) like that, then it might start to colour some business decisions."

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Prosciutto And Ricotta Crostini With Honey

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://steamykitchen.com/18794-prosciutto-and-ricotta-crostini-with-honey-recipe.html">Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini with Honey recipe</a> by Steamy Kitchen</strong>

  • Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/spaghetti_alla_carbonara/">Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Toasted Pistachio-Cheese Arancini

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/toasted-pistachio-cheese-_n_1058751.html">Toasted Pistachio-Cheese Arancini recipe</a></strong>

  • Peperonata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/peperonata/">Peperonata recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Oven-Roasted Porchetta

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/oven-roasted-porchetta_n_1062595.html">Oven-Roasted Porchetta recipe</a></strong>

  • Minestrone Soup

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/quick-minestrone-soup_n_1057230.html">Minestrone Soup recipe</a></strong>

  • Giardiniera Pie

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/giardiniera-pie_n_1367827.html">Giardiniera Pie recipe</a></strong>

  • Bolognese Meat Sauce

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/bolognese_meat_sauce/">Bolognese Meat Sauce recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Eggplant Caponata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/caponata_eggplant_relish/">Eggplant Caponata recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Big Italian Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/big-italian-salad_n_1059507.html">Big Italian Salad recipe</a></strong>

  • Baked Ziti Recipe

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/baked_ziti/">Baked Ziti recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Cioppino

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.aspicyperspective.com/2011/08/when-food-callsanswer.html">Cioppino recipe</a> by A Spicy Perspective</strong>

  • Mushroom Sugo

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mushroom_sugo/">Mushroom Sugo recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Mixed-Herb Pesto

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/mixed-herb-pesto_n_1058567.html">Mixed-Herb Pesto recipe</a></strong>

  • Panzanella Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.macheesmo.com/2010/07/panzanella-salad/">Panzanella Salad recipe</a> by Macheesmo</strong>

  • Fish Al Cartoccio

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/fish-al-cartoccio_n_1151664.html">Fish al Cartoccio recipe</a></strong>

  • Fresh Egg Pasta

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.macheesmo.com/2009/04/homemade-pasta/">Fresh Egg Pasta recipe</a> by Macheesmo</strong>

  • Focaccia Bread

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/focaccia_bread_with_rosemary/">Focaccia Bread recipe </a>by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce And Garlic Basil Oil

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://steamykitchen.com/6986-scarpettas-spaghetti-with-fresh-tomato-sauce-and-garlic-basil-oil.html">Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Garlic Basil Oil recipe</a> by Steamy Kitchen</strong>

  • Italian Eggdrop Soup

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/italian-eggdrop-soup_n_1057229.html">Italian Eggdrop Soup recipe</a></strong>

  • Pasta With Mushroom Sauce

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/woodmans-pasta-with-mush_n_1456715.html">Pasta with Mushroom Sauce recipe</a></strong>

  • Pan-Fried Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://steamykitchen.com/16-pan-fried-lemon-ricotta-gnocchi.html">Pan-Fried Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi recipe</a> by Steamy Kitchen</strong>

  • Fennel And Sausage Risotto

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/fennel-and-sausage-risott_n_1058384.html">Fennel and Sausage Risotto recipe</a></strong>

  • Spaghetti And Meatballs

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://steamykitchen.com/11917-bobby-flays-spaghetti-and-meatballs.html">Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe</a> by Steamy Kitchen</strong>

  • Red Pepper Polenta

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/red-pepper-polenta_n_1059378.html">Red Pepper Polenta recipe </a></strong>

  • Asparagus Rolls With Prosciutto

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-rolls-with-pros_n_1057301.html">Asparagus Rolls with Prosciutto recipe</a></strong>

  • Free-Form Sausage-And-Three-Cheese Lasagna

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/free-form-sausage-and-thr_n_1058393.html">Free-Form Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna recipe</a></strong>

  • Farfalle With Spicy Sausage And Butternut Squash

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/farfalle-with-spicy-sausa_n_1058381.html">Farfalle with Spicy Sausage and Butternut Squash recipe</a></strong>

  • Semolina Bread

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.macheesmo.com/2011/03/semolina-bread/">Semolina Bread recipe</a> by Macheesmo</strong>

  • Mushroom-Sausage Ragù

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/mushroom-sausage-rag_n_1059525.html">Mushroom-Sausage Ragù recipe</a></strong>

  • Penne With Cauliflower

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/penne-with-cauliflower_n_1057338.html">Penne with Cauliflower recipe</a></strong>

  • Rabbit Cacciatore

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/rabbit_cacciatore/">Rabbit Cacciatore recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Spinach And Ricotta Gnudi

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/gnudi-spinach-and-ricott_n_1061492.html">Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi recipe</a></strong>

  • Creamy Pea And Rocket Linguini Twists

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/creamy-pea-and-rocket-lin_n_1057522.html">Creamy Pea and Rocket Linguini Twists recipe</a></strong>

  • Summery Fettuccine Alfredo

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/summery-fettuccine-alfred_n_1058729.html">Summery Fettuccine Alfredo recipe </a></strong>

  • Polenta With Hunter Sauce

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/polenta-with-hunter-sauce_n_1056873.html">Polenta with Hunter Sauce recipe</a></strong>

  • Coffee Affogato

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/simply-delicious-coffee-a_n_1057550.html">Coffee Affogato recipe</a></strong>

  • Lemon, Olive Oil And Almond Biscotti

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/29/lemon-olive-oil-and-alm_n_1310256.html">Lemon, Olive Oil, and Almond Biscotti recipe</a></strong>

  • Gelato Di Gianduia

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/gelato-di-gianduia_n_1294362.html">Gelato di Gianduia recipe</a></strong>

  • Sfratti

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/sfratti_n_1058843.html">Sfratti recipe</a></strong>

  • Half-Moon-Shape Sweet Pasta Filled With Candied Fruit

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/06/mezzelune-dolci-half-moo_n_1323812.html">Half-Moon-Shape Sweet Pasta Filled with Candied Fruit recipe</a></strong>

  • Cassata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/cassata-deconstructed-ca_n_1417961.html">Cassata recipe</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Chestnut Torte

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/chocolate-chestnut-torte_n_1294363.html">Chocolate Chestnut Torte recipe</a></strong>