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  • U.S. Senate Warns EU to Stop Food Fight Over Dairy Names

    By USDEC October 13, 2014

    Letter challenges EU efforts to restrict how U.S. companies market cheese.

    The EU has been using free trade agreements to prevent cheese makers in the United States and around the world from using common food names such as parmesan, feta, havarti and muenster.

    A bipartisan majority of the U.S. Senate weighed in this week on the importance of rejecting this idea. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and U.S. Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack, over 50 U.S. senators urged the U.S. government to fight back against EU efforts to restrict how U.S. companies market cheese and other foods.


    The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) applaud the Senate’s strong statement in support of the U.S. dairy industry, as it comes at a critical time in the development of a free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU.

    The letter, co-authored by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), expressed opposition to the EU’s gratuitous use of GIs as a protectionist measure, and condemned the resulting barriers to trade that are growing in key U.S. export markets. The senators asked that USTR and USDA work aggressively against the EU’s efforts to restrict commonly used cheese names because they would harm the ability of U.S. businesses to compete domestically or internationally.

    “This is why the work of the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), an independent organization USDEC founded two years ago, is so important,” said USDEC President Tom Suber. “CCFN allows those with similar concerns about this issue in various countries to unite in order to promote a more common-sense and pro-trade approach to GI policies.”

    The issue has been getting plenty of mainstream media attention this week, including this article by Time.  

    “That was certainly a big wake-up call for us,” Shawna Morris told Time. Morris is senior director for the Consortium for Common Food Names.

    Morris says the group is focused on EU overreach against U.S. suppliers and products the industry has been making for decades. “We simply think it’s ridiculous to decide after so many years that they can no longer use these names.”

    Download our news release on the issue here.

    The U.S. Dairy Export Council is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff that builds on collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to build global demand for U.S. dairy products.   


    Trade Policy Cheese EU Common food names
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