According to The Guardian, during recent trade talks, the European Union stated the desire to ban European names used in the United States for cheese. Parmesan is one of the cheese’s mentioned during the talks. The EU believes that cheese made in the U.S. pale in comparison to the European varieties, hurt the identity of European cheeses, like parmesan, as well as reduce sales.
The EU argument on copied PDO products.
The EU argues that parmesan cheese should only come from Parma, Italy, and the ground cheese sold in green, cylinder containers in the U.S. is not, and should not be labeled carry the name parmesan. The problem for the U.S. is what would you call the block of cheese grated onto your favorite pasta? If it’s not parmesan; then what is it?
The U.S. are fighting back.
Needless to say, U.S. dairy producers are fighting the change, claiming it would greatly cut into the $4bn cheese industry, and cause confusion for cheese consumers. The cheese name change would not only affect parmesan, but other popular U.S. cheeses as well, including feta, asiago, Romano and muenster.
Kraft, and other large cheese producers in the U.S. claim that while it was Europeans who originally brought parmesan and other cheeses to the U.S., it was, and is, the U.S. produces that have made these cheese profitable and popular. They also argue that cheese parmesan and other cheese names have always been considered generic names in the U.S.
What this name change comes down to is mass confusion by consumers in America, as well as loss in sales and jobs. Errico Auricchio, president of BelGioioso Cheese Inc in Green Bay Wisconsin suggested, “I can’t believe it’s not parmesan,” as an alternative name in jest.