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08/19/2003 Entry: "WTO goes over the edge (again), this time on food names (oy)"

Hey, if you thought Faux's "Fair & Balanced" thingy was nuts, try this one on:

"A food fight of global proportions is shaping up for the meeting of the World Trade Organization in Cancun, Mexico, next month. Distinguished trade ministers from 146 nations will be hurling Parmesan, bologna and Chablis at one another.

"Not the actual foods, the words.

"The European Union wants to bar makers of food, wine and spirits from calling products by regional names unless they were produced in those regions.

"Food names being bandied about for such protection include some that most Americans consider generic, such as balsamic vinegar, bologna, salami, Gorgonzola, fontina, Dijon mustard, mozzarella, Edam and feta. Some of these names aren't even associated with a specific city. Alcoholic beverages targeted for geographic indicator protection include Bordeaux, Chablis, Champagne, Chianti, Cognac, Madeira, port and sherry.

"All versions and translations of the names would become forbidden fruit for nonnative producers. For example, while 'parmigiano reggiano' already has U.S. certification mark protection (a type of trademark), under the new EU proposal, the word 'Parmesan' would be off limits for cheese produced outside of Parma, Italy. Likewise, modifiers, as in "Parmesan-like cheese" or 'American Parmesan,' would be unacceptable.

"So far, however, frankfurters are not scheduled to be verboten."
The label police, Europeans are getting snippy about foreigners using their place names for food, by Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 2003

Well, there's a mercy.

But you know, if the WTO does get its way, there is a solution at hand.

 

 

 

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