News & Resources

Pan-American Dairy Federation Opposes EU Over-Reach on Geographical Indications and EU Attempts to Restrict Common Food Names

December 5, 2013

Through its work in the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), NMPF has continued to support efforts to preserve market access for U.S. cheeses in several Latin American countries and continues to monitor the situation globally.

Most recently, FEPALE, the Pan-American Dairy Federation (Federación Panamericana de Lechería), passed a resolution in opposition to the European Union’s (EU) increasing efforts to restrict the use of common food names. FEPALE represents the vast majority of countries throughout the Americas. The resolution was passed by FEPALE’s board during the group’s Annual meeting in Panama City, Panama on November 21.

The EU has been working aggressively within its trade agreements in Latin America and other nations to restrict the use of food names, including such common cheese names as “parmesan,” “asiago,” “gorgonzola” and “feta.”

The resolution notes that the EU’s efforts to lay sole claim to numerous terms in widespread usage globally would have “significant negative impacts on FEPALE members,” and pose a “global threat to trade and commerce.” The original Spanish version can be found here, and a translated copy is available here.

NMPF agrees with CCFN that there is a place for the protection of certain foods from distinct regions, such as Napa Valley wines or Camembert de Normandie cheese from France, but the EU has pushed the bounds of geographical indication protections to include generic names, forcing countries to accept their demands. NMPF will continue its work to combat this threat to U.S. dairy sales.

Members concerned about this issue and interested in getting additional information can contact Shawna Morris at smorris@nmpf.org.