The United States and the European Union may be on the brink of a cheese war. The European Union says that certain names should only be displayed on cheeses produced in certain regions of Europe, not American-made versions of those cheeses. The list of cheeses in question includes: asiago, feta, muenster and parmesan. European officials claim the names of those cheeses are “geographical indicators” and should not be allowed on U.S.-made products.
The cheese war has done the practically impossible: unified Democrats and Republicans in the United States Senate. More than half the Senate, including members of both parties, joined forces to urge U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to fight the European Union over cheese naming-rights.
Canada has already conceded naming rights on feta and other cheeses.
In the associated video, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task compares this latest EU mission to the successful movement by the French to own the name “Champagne”. “You can get sparkling wine from anywhere else in the world, but if it’s ‘Champagne’ it only comes from France. This is an extension of that,” said Task.
The EU’s efforts are not likely to have any meaningful impact on the European economies that are struggling with slow growth and high unemployment. “This is the EU spending a lot of time and energy on stuff that really isn’t going to help the economy in the EU,” said Task. “It’s not going to help them fight a horrific unemployment problem they have or put – no pun intended – food on the table for their citizens, but they can stand up and say only feta that’s made in the EU is ‘feta’ and the only ‘parmesan’ is parmesan from the EU. It’s kind of silly and ridiculous.”
Task cut right to the heart of the issue with one question: what does this mean for Swiss cheese?