EU ‘Cheese War’ with the US

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The cronyism of Brussels has reared its ugly head yet again in its latest war…on cheese! The EU plans to ban US cheese makers from using what they consider to be specifically European names. Cheese makers in rural Wisconsin have kicked up a fuss about the authoritarian control the EU wants to apply to their thriving cheese industry.

The EU has made the argument that names such as feta, parmesan, gorgonzola and fontina are ‘geographical indicators’ linked to specific European regions. Subsequently, Americans should not be allowed to use such names for their cheeses, even if they’re made in the same way. The EU says parmesan cheese should only come from Parma, while feta cheese should only come from Greece (even though feta isn’t a place). It’s outrageous that the EU would try and greedily draw back products which have become popular in other countries.

Of course the EU is unsympathetic to the concerns of these cheese makers – their only aim is wield as much power as possible over Member States, as well as other countries. This is just part of their ongoing federal publicity campaign – costing us millions of pounds a year – in order to shove their European ideology on others.

The American use of these cheese names has not affected the European cheese industry, so any attempt to ban them in this way amounts to senseless and childish behaviour and a huge waste of our money. Sovereign nation states should decide for themselves if they want to protect their products, not the EU. Back in 2007, a North Yorkshire food producer encountered similar battles with the EU over its feta cheese. This is one more reason why Britain needs to leave the EU, so that these kinds of decisions aren’t made for us by unelected Eurocrats in Brussels.

These are not minor concerns – the names of cheeses, which people are familiar with and can trust, are essential to their market value. The EU has already closed some foreign markets due to ‘imposter cheeses’. American cheese makers are prohibited from selling Parmesan in South Korea, for example, unless it is re-branded. But what a ridiculous and patronising sentiment this is; that such cheeses are ‘imposters’ simply because they are not made in Europe.

Soon the EU will try and protect anything it deems to be exclusively ‘European’, including certain meats. Let’s not forget the double standards at play here: it was the Europeans who brought such products into the US in the first place! The EU should be a bit more grateful to the US for making these cheeses so popular.

This is not the first time the EU has imposed its will on other countries. Other names are protected under EU legislation, including French champagne, Scotch and Irish whisky, Parma ham, cognac and sherry. Similarly, under the Canadian agreement, new feta cheeses manufactured in Canada can only be marketed as feta-style.

Abby Morgan, a Pennsylvania cheese maker, remarked, “It’s so absurd it sounds like a Monty Python sketch”, as she imagined EU bureaucrats scrutinising US cheese labels. We at Get Britain Out couldn’t agree more: the whole thing is a joke and stinks almost as much as the EU.

Sam Woolfe, Research Executive

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