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EU in Emmental clash with Switzerland

Press Release   •   Aug 23, 2002 12:15 CEST

The European dairy organisation, EDA, has requested the EU Commission to protest against the Swiss Ministry of Agriculture’s decision to award the sales organisation Emmentaler Switzerland exclusive rights to the name ”Emmental” by giving this cheese type AOC status.

The German government has asked the Commission to intervene in the matter and the French government is expected to join in. Among the arguments against the Swiss move is the fact that more Emmental is produced outside Switzerland than inside and that the name is not protected under the 1951 Stresa convention.

The issue revives the long-standing dispute on the borderline between generic denominations of cheese and regional cheese names that are entitled to protection. It will be closely monitored by the Danish Dairy Board’s office in Brussels.

”Several of the arguments that the Commission is expected to use are likely to reflect our arguments against protecting the Feta name”, explains Hans Bender, the Dairy Board’s export adviser in Brussels. ”This is why we regard the case as an interesting prologue to the forthcoming case between the Danish dairy industry and the EU Commission before the EU court, centred on the Commision’s decision to award Feta the status as a ”protected term of origin” for Greek sheep/goats’ milk cheese.”