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The PJ Tatler

Stephen Kruiser


March 18, 2014 - 6:00 pm


American cheese-makers say proposed EU-restrictions on cheese names are no “gouda” here.

On Tuesday, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) hosted the Connecticut Cheese Challenge at Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm in Lyme, Conn. Local farmer Suzanne Sankow says the senator was on hand to decide which feta was beta: Sankow’s own farm-fresh variety or the European-made version.

Sen. Murphy and the cheese makers milked the stunt to draw attention to European Union efforts to limit American farmers’ use of common cheese names like gouda, feta, parmesan and cheddar. The E.U. says these names are geographical indications, and should only be used for products made in certain regions.

But American cheese-makers and politicians say the restrictions are sour.

“In country after country, the E.U. has been using its free trade agreements (FTAs) to persuade its trading partners to impose barriers to U.S. exports under the guise of protection for its geographical indications,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) wrote in an open letter, which was signed by over 50 other senators.

The E.U. has already imposed restrictions on U.S. companies’ ability to sell cheeses like parmesan and feta under those names in Canada and South Korea, says Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation.

Few things will put me on Chuck Schumer’s side but you do not mess with my cheese. Maybe we should remind the ingrates that all of these “regional” cheeses would now have German names if it weren’t for the United States.

Quesadilla, anyone?

Stephen Kruiser is a professional comedian and writer who has also been a conservative political activist for over two decades. A co-founder of the first Los Angeles Tea Party, Kruiser often speaks to grassroots groups around America and has had the great honor of traveling around the world entertaining U.S. troops.

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All Comments   (3)
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Meh. This is such a non-issue. So that Romano-like cheese produced by the family farm in Wisconsin doesn't get to sell as a "Romano". So sell it under your own brand, include vague references to "old world character in a new world formulation" or somesuch and generate your own market niche. The proof is in the eating; if your product is as good or better than the "denominazione" variety it should do just fine.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
It seems like "Free Trade Agreements" are just another kind of doublespeak...intended to justify protectionism. A real free trade agreement would be about one page long and not require a massive bureaucracy to enforce. But where's the fun in that?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
They did this for the word "champagne" and, I think, rightfully so (not going to go into the reasons why), but cheese? There are no European-defined, legal districts or legally-defined districts for cheese.

Let them bluster while Russia moves ahead. It's called denial.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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