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Europe Says Your Parmesan Isn't Really Parmesan

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The European Union wants U.S. cheese makers to stop calling their Parmesan cheese Parmesan cheese, the AP reports. According to the Europeans, only cheese called Parmesan should come from Parma, Italy. Also: If it doesn't come from Greece, it's not feta.

The Europeans have been making their cheese case as part broader trade talks with the U.S., according to the AP. And they've been making a similar case in talks with other countries. Under one recent deal, new products in Canada can't be called feta unless they're from Greece. (Still Ok: "feta-like" and "feta-style.")

This kind of thing is actually pretty common in global trade. Bourbon can only come from the U.S. Mezcal (which we reported on recently) can only come from the mountains in Oaxaca, Mexico and the surrounding area.

On the other hand, just because a thing is named for a place, it doesn't mean that the place automatically gets privileged naming status. As an explainer from the World Intellectual Property Organization helpfully points out:

For example, the term "cologne" now denotes a certain kind of perfumed toilet water, regardless of whether or not it was produced in the region of Cologne.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Julia Zhu