Parmesan and Feta and Muenster, Oh my!
Don’t get me wrong; I definitely think cheese is something worth fighting over. (I’ve been known to fight over the last piece of cheese on a cheese board more than once—hey, don’t judge!). But, the European Union’s battle over the names of cheese during trade talks may be taking the fight too far.
The EU is trying to ban the use of names like Parmesan, feta and Gorgonzola on cheeses made in America.
Why, you might ask?
Isn’t Parmesan cheese always a hard, dry sharply flavored cheese?
A white crumbly cheese made from sheep or goat’s milk and cured in brine?
“The argument is that the American-made cheeses are shadows of the original European varieties and cut into the sales and identity of the European cheese,” Associated Press’ Mary Clare Jalonick discusses.
Dairy producers, cheesemakers and food companies in the U.S. are rebelling against the idea, which would cut into the $4 billon domestic cheese industry. Plus, if Parmesan isn’t Parmesan and Gorgonzola isn’t Gorgonzola, then what is it?
The EU’s proposal would include Parmesan, asiago, Gorgonzola, feta, fontina, grana, Muenster, Neufchatel and Romano. And it may not just be cheese they are threatening! Bologna, Black Forest ham, Greek yogurt, Valencia oranges and prosciutto, among other foods are also susceptible to the EU’s name-changing plans.
What do you think?
Should American-made cheeses replace their names, or is the European Union asking too much?