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Consortium Files Objection to EU GI Application for ‘Havarti’

Jun 26, 2014

The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), of which IDFA is a founding member, is calling for the European Union to make the right decision on a controversial geographical indication (GI) proposal that would grant Denmark exclusive use of the name “havarti” in the EU. CCFN objected to the proposal in comments filed late last week as part of the EU’s GI review process.

Protecting the ability of U.S. cheese makers to use common cheese names in the United States and international markets is a top priority for IDFA.

A Codex Alimentarius standard was established for havarti in 2007 – with Europe’s approval. These international standards play an important role in preventing barriers to trade. The Codex standard was established in part due to significant international production of havarti, demonstrating the fact that this cheese is produced and marketed in many countries throughout the world.

CCFN believes a better model for GIs was included in recent EU rulings on “Gouda Holland,” “Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar” and “Holsteiner Tilsiter” where the approved GIs are protected only as compound names. In these cases, the approval notice contains clear language stating that the common names ‘gouda,’ ‘cheddar’ and ‘tilsiter’ are not restricted in the EU under these applications.

The EU has been increasingly aggressive in moving past protected geographical and specialty names, such as “Parmigiano Reggiano,” to seek exclusive use of the common term related to the name, such as “parmesan,” or to claim ownership of a common name like “feta.”  In recent trade deals, the EU has acquired restrictions on the use of “feta,” “asiago,” “gorgonzola” and other cheese names in Korea and Canada, and restrictions on the use of the names “parmesan” and “provolone” in Costa Rica. Many other trade negotiations are ongoing, including the EU-U.S. Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

CCFN is an independent, international non-profit alliance whose goal is to work with leaders in agriculture, trade and intellectual property rights to foster the adoption of high standards and model geographical indication guidelines throughout the world. Read more at

Members with questions may contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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