BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 6 June, 2001, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Parmesan makers bid to protect name
A Parmesan cheese maker in Parma, Italy
Parmigiano is so pure you can feed it to infants
By David Willey in Rome

The makers of Parmesan cheese in Italy have asked the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to rule on whether it is legal for competitors to use the name Parmesan for cheese not made in Parma.

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
A high quality product that takes up to two years to mature
The Parmesan cheese industry around Parma is a multi-million dollar business with a high quality product that takes up to two years to mature and contains no additives.

They tell you in Parma that Parmigiano, as the cheese is called in Italian, is so pure and nutritious you can feed it to infants only a few months old.

But the industry is up in arms about illegal competition from companies that are mixing different varieties of cheese selling the result all over Europe, grated, as Parmesan cheese.

Protected in Italy

In France and Italy, fine cheeses and their trade names are protected by law, just like fine wines.


An Italian court has said it does not have the authority to rule that the protection Parmigiano enjoys in Italy should be extended to all of Europe.

The Parmigiano makers are hoping that by taking their case to the European Court, they will gain the same international legal protection enjoyed by producers of Champagne in France.

Austrians and Germans say they cannot tell the difference between Parmigiano and so-called Parmesan sold in packets.

Irrelevant, say the Italians, who are supported by the French and the Greeks.

Greece criticised

But the Italians have criticised the Greeks for failing to react when a European Court issued a ruling in 1999, allowing other countries to sell Greek Feta cheese under its original name, even if it is made in New Zealand or Denmark.

The cheese makers of Parma say they hope the European Court will rule on the case by next year.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories