U.S. Cheese Producers Win Major Victory with Gruyere Ruling

U.S. cheese producers won a significant victory March 3 when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that “gruyere” is a common name for a variety of cheese, and not a designation of geographic origin.

The win came after intense efforts by the NMPF trade policy team, working with the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) to secure the key legal victory against French and Swiss groups seeking to appropriate the name “gruyere” in the U.S. market. The ruling means that U.S. gruyere producers can continue to market and sell gruyere in the United States. It also sets an excellent precedent that helps ensure common food names will be protected domestically against EU efforts to erect nontariff trade barriers by appropriating them for their exclusive use.

Capturing the momentum from the Court of Appeals’ ruling, the trade policy team, who also staff CCFN, will continue to work alongside USDEC to secure firm and clear commitments assuring the future use of common cheese names at risk of EU confiscation. CCFN release a video in March explaining the organization’s work and challenges; learn more about CCFN’s work by watching it here.