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Europe wants its cheese names back

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Photo: Video by TIM LUCAS/FLICKR

Europe wants its cheese names back

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Mar 12, 2014

Can you imagine eating a big plate of spaghetti without a little Parmesan cheese on top? If Europe has its way, that might happen.

Europe wants its cheese back, sort of. More specifically, the European Union wants to ban the use of European names on cheese made in the United States.

Names on the EU's list include well-known ones such as Parmesan, Romano, feta, Asiago and Gruyere.

The EU says American-made cheeses are "shadows of the original European brands" and cut into the sales of their original cheeses.

Of course, U.S. dairy producers, cheesemakers and food companies are fighting the idea. They say it would hurt the $4 billion domestic cheese industry and confuse their customers.

Cheese is not the only product that could be affected. Other products such bologna, Black Forest ham, Greek yogurt and Valencia oranges also have ties to European countries.

The European Union has not really offered an alternative, and it's not clear if the issue will be discussed this week during a new round of trade talks in Brussels.