By MICHAEL LANE
A campaign spearheaded by the US Dairy Export Council is to take on the European Union over the protection of “generic food names”, such as parmesan and feta.
The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) said it is concerned about the European Commission’s “aggressive efforts to confiscate common food names”.
While it is not opposed to the EU’s Protected Designation of Origin system, the CCFN said the EU is going too far by building geographical indication provisions into trade negotiations.
The consortium’s agenda is not just limited to cheese, as it is also striving to protect bologna, salami and terms used by winemakers such as “classic”, “vintage”, “fine” and “superior”.
The consortium said its goal is to usher in a model that protects PDOs like Parmigiano Reggiano while preserving producers’ right to the word parmesan. Within the EU, the word can only be used to describe Parmigiano Reggiano.
“If [EU] efforts are successful, consumers will no longer recognise many of their favourite foods. Producers around the world will be forced to consider relabeling,” said Jaime Castaneda, executive director of the new initiative, and senior vice president of trade policy at USDEC.
As well as several American organisations, the Consortium is backed by the Argentine Dairy Industry Federation, National Chamber of Milk Producers of Costa Rica, and Costa Rican cheese producer Monteverde.