Only Italians Can Call It Parmesan

EU's high court rules against German cheese makers
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2008 7:36 PM CST
Only Italians Can Call It Parmesan
"Only cheeses bearing the protected designation of origin Parmigiano Reggiano' can be sold under the name Parmesan'," ruled the European Court of Justice today in Luxembourg.   (KRT Photos)

Europe's high court ruled today that only Italians can call their cheese Parmesan, Bloomberg reports. The judges shot down an argument by German cheese-makers that the term is generic. "This is absolutely wonderful news," said the author of an Italian cheese guide. "There is no more risk in Europe of finding Parmesan that isn't Parmesan."

"Outside the European Union is another story," he added. US food producer Kraft has sold hard grated cheese as Parmesan for 60 years. The ruling will also aid EU efforts to protect other regional foods, like Prosciutto di Parma and Roquefort cheese, according to Bloomberg. Such foods have already sparked debate between EU countries and the US, Argentina, and Australia in trade talks. (Read more Parmesan stories.)

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