The EU is attempting to ban American companies from using the names of European cheeses to describe their own products. As part of ongoing trade negotiations between the European Union and United States, the EU has requested that only cheeses imported from Europe should bare the appropriate name.
This would mean, for example, that American-made Parmesan would have to change its name as it is not made in the Parma region of Italy. Similarly, feta cheese will only be allowed to be described as such if it comes from Greece.
American dairy producers are fighting the plans, which they say would hurt the $4 billion domestic cheese market by confusing customers and making their products seem inferior.
TheProvince.com also says that the plans are also being challenged by large food companies who manufacture the cheeses in America. A spokesman for Kraft, who are well known for their grated parmesan, said: “Such restrictions could not only be costly to food makers, but also potentially confusing for consumers if the labels of their favourite products using these generic names were required to change.”
He said that the names are now so commonly-used that they should be considered generic.
A bipartisan group of 55 U.S. Senators has now written to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and trade representative Michael Froman, asking them to reject any such proposals by the EU. They argue that the plans would harm many small family-owned businesses in America by making their products seem less attractive and harming their exports.
The EU has already concluded a similar agreement with Canada, where feta cheese manufactured domestically can now only be marketed as “feta-like” or “feta-style”, and the use Greek symbols on packaging is forbidden.