Europe wants its Parmesan back, seeks name change

WASHINGTON — Would Parmesan by any other name be as tasty atop your pasta? A ripening trade battle might put that to the test.

As part of trade talks, the European Union wants to ban the use of European names like Parmesan on cheeses made in the United States. Others include feta and Gruyere.

The argument is that the American-made cheese is a shadow of the original European brands, and it cuts into sales and identity of the original cheeses. The Europeans say Parmesan should only be from Parma, Italy, not in those familiar green cylinders that American companies sell.

U.S. dairy producers, cheese makers and food companies are all fighting the idea, which they say would cost them millions of dollars and endlessly confuse consumers.

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