For once, we have something worth going to war over. The European Union says American cheese-makers must stop using names with historical ties to Europe.
As part of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the European Union wants the U.S. to prohibit food makers here from using names with historical ties to Europe.
That means popular cheeses like Gruyere, Brie and Parmesan could all be in line for a name change, thanks to the EU’s proposed restrictions. The problem, says Steve Stettler, who owns Decatur Dairy in Brodhead, Wis., is that U.S. food makers have spent a lot of money building their brands.
“How do we educate our consumers? People have spent a great deal of money on labeling, building traditions, building a name on a product,” Stettler says. “And then not being able to use that name would be kind of horrific.”
Since the EU started putting restrictions on food names in the mid-1990s, they’ve spread to other countries, says Shawna Morris of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.
A couple of years ago, she notes, a free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea “banned the sale of U.S. feta, Asiago, Gorgonzola and fontina to Korea.”
Morris says Costa Rica recently decided against allowing the sale of American provolone and Parmesan, and South and Central America have similar restrictions.
Rather than realigning the aim of our nuclear missiles towards the Valley of Muenster, I have come up with peaceful way of dealing with the issue – rename European cheeses in a way meant to embarrass the E.U. For instance, Brie only be sold as “Infected French Farmer’s Foot”, Roquefort – “Leper’s Sputum”. You get the idea.
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