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EU says No More Wisconsin Brie!!...What do you think?

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 11:53 AM
  • 17 Replies

Europe Tells U.S. To Lay Off Brie And Get Its Own Cheese Names

fromWUWM

Cheese, glorious cheese! The European Union wants U.S. food makers to stop using names with historical ties to Europe. But what else would you call, say, Parmesan and Brie?

Cheese, glorious cheese! The European Union wants U.S. food makers to stop using names with historical ties to Europe. But what else would you call, say, Parmesan and Brie?

Dinner Series/Flickr

What's in a name? It's an age-old question Juliet once asked Romeo in Shakespeare's famed play.

Today, it's a serious question between the U.S. and the European Union, which has said it wants U.S. food makers to stop using European names.

But depending on what food you're talking about, a name could be a lot, says Kyle Cherek, the producer and host of a TV show called Wisconsin Foodie.

Cherek argues that certain products are so unique that only one country or region should be allowed to lay claim. So, for example, he says only onions from Vidalia, Ga., should be called American Vidalia, and Lambic beer absolutely has to come from a specific valley in Belgium.

"Roquefort, of course, has to come from that region" of France, he adds, because there's a distinctive fungus that gives the cheese its flavor.

But not everything fits into that category. Take, for instance, cheddar cheese — which is big business in Wisconsin.

"They simply can't legislate that into a region," Cherek says. "Cheddar is made in Australia, in the U.S., in Canada. It's made in probably seven or eight countries."

And therein lies the problem.

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 ownsDecatur 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."

His factory, located 100 miles from Milwaukee, currently makes a variety of cheeses, including Havarti, Swiss and Gouda. Right now, there's a 35,000-pound stainless steel vat full of liquid Muenster cheese — whose name may also have to be changed because it originates from France's Valley of Muenster — in the process of changing to a solid.

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.

She argues that it's less about civic pride, and more about competition.

"Actually, just last year, the U.S. became the largest single country exporter of cheese in the world," she says.

And nearly a quarter of all cheese produced in the U.S. comes from Wisconsin.

Even if the state's producers are eventually barred from using European-derived names for their cheeses, they'll always have Wisconsin's native product: cheese curds.

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by on Mar. 4, 2014 at 11:53 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 12:26 PM
1 mom liked this

rolls eyes, if someone is making brie I want to know that it is brie - I don't care where it comes from.

Healthystart30
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 12:45 PM
Are they saying they need to change the name when they import it to Europe? Or just over all?
NWP
by guerrilla girl on Mar. 4, 2014 at 12:49 PM

They are saying WE need to change the names of the cheeses produced here, in the US...That only those cheeses produced in those regions of Europe where they originated can carry those names...kind of like how wine is labeled. 

Quoting Healthystart30: Are they saying they need to change the name when they import it to Europe? Or just over all?


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Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Mar. 4, 2014 at 12:51 PM
I'm lost... I thought the name of cheese is based on the taste and how it's made?

You can't just call Brie, Cheddar instead...
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canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 1:12 PM
Well, they'll just have to call it 'Brie style'. Like how champagne is only from a region of France, if it's not from there it's sparkling wine.
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NWP
by guerrilla girl on Mar. 4, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Nope...Like wines, most are named after the place of origin. Google Cheddar, England. It's pretty funny!

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley: I'm lost... I thought the name of cheese is based on the taste and how it's made? You can't just call Brie, Cheddar instead...


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Luvnlogic
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 1:23 PM

I can see their point...interesting to see what American cheese producers change their names to if this happens. 

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:42 PM

 Really?  This is such a stupid thing to worry about.

SallyMJ
by Bronze Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:47 PM

They're just jealous that America makes such good cheese and wine.

So they are having some whine along with their cheese.

eye rolling

Donna6503
by Platinum Member on Mar. 4, 2014 at 2:47 PM
2 moms liked this
Well Greek yogurt; produced in the land of round doorknobs, can't be called, "Greek." in England anymore.

Thanks Obama


(Sarcasm)
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