The use of labels like Parmesan, Feta, Asiago and Mozzarella in cheese has been challenged through the priority of geographical indications (GI), particularly from Europe. But a new protection for the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) has been established in the US and around the world.
The agreement was announced last week between the Consorzio Tutela Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) for the free use of the generic term ‘mozzarella’ in cheese.
The American Dairy Coalition (ADC) said the new deal is ‘of critical importance’ because the enforcement of GIs would result in US farmers having to label their cheese with unfamiliar names and “impede the competition of US dairy products in global markets.”
“The negative ripple effect on U.S. economies would be substantial, as consumers would face confusion over unfamiliar terms, and ultimately higher prices and fewer choices,” the ADC said.
The US is the largest export market for Mozzarella di Bufala Campana outside the EU, and the ADC thinks that this agreement is a significant step toward “maintaining the integrity and transparency of dairy products and justly leveling the playing field in global markets.”
As part of the agreement, the groups sent a joint letter to the European Commission and the US and Italian governments requesting that they uphold the decision to protect both the name Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and the free use of the term mozzarella in markets across the globe.
Laurie Fischer, CEO of the ADC, said, “It is vital that consumers have transparency and awareness of the quality dairy products available to them. Further, it is of equal importance that US dairy farmers are provided fair access to language to have the opportunity to be competitive in global markets.”
“This agreement is an important step in providing much-needed clarity and definition and sets the precedence for classification of further cheeses. We are eager to see how the conversation evolves and the impact it will make on markets in the US and globally.”