When it comes to cheese what's in a name. Europe says everything. As part of trade talks the European Unionwants to ban the use of European names like parmesan, feta and gruyere oncheese made in America.
Their argument is simple. American cheeses aren't good enough or so they say. For example, parmesan cheese should only comefrom Parma, Italy and not in a green canister that you shake over your pasta.
The EU even wants to lay claim to feta cheese which is Greekand isn't even in Europe.
Of course what this really comes down to is money. American cheeses are cutting into sales of European cheeses.
American cheeses are a $4 billion dollar industry and USdairy producers say any name changes would simply confuse shoppers.
"It's really stunning that the Europeans are trying to clawback products made popular in other countries, says Jim Mulhern, President ofthe National Milk Producers Federation, which represents US dairy farmers.
You only have to look at recent EU trade deals with Canadaand Central America to see how a possible deal with American companies wouldlook.
Under those agreements, certain names were restricted unlessthe cheese came from Europe. Fetaproducts made in Canada can only be marketed as feta-like or feta-style and can'tuse Greek letters or images that remind consumers of Greece.