Europe to America: Get Your Own Cheese Names!

American Cheese (Image: Steve Spring/Wikimedia)

Well, have you had that weird orange slices of processed food called American cheese? It's no wonder that American cheesemakers are miffed when the European Union proposed that they stop using European names when making cheese. No more "Mi queso es su queso".

As part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership currently being negotiated by the United States and the EU, Europe wants us to stop labelling popular cheeses Gruyere, Brie, and Parmesan as those are names with historical ties to Europe. The EU has added "protected destination of origin" (PDO) status to 180 cheeses from various regions, including Roquefort, Beaufort, and Brie de Meaux.

American cheesemakers, naturally, are upset that Europe is moving their cheese. "People have spent a great deal of money on labeling, building traditions, building a name on a product," said foodmaker Steve Stettler of Decatur Dairy in Brodhead, Wisconsin, to NPR Morning Edition's Latoya Dennis. "And then not being able to use that name would be kind of horrific."

What do you think? No more American-made feta, Asiago, Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Muenster? Should American cheesemakers be forced to call these cheeses something else?

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Newest 5 Comments

I'm in favor of accuracy in labeling. In the US, we have similar regulations. For example, there are certain restrictions on onions that can be called "Vidalia" (only certain varieties, grown in a select geographical area).

So why is it now a big deal for European foods to also have restrictions about foods from a certain geographical region?
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