Italy retains exclusive right to Parmesan trademark

April 11, 2002

WELLINGTGON, New Zealand -- For at least the next two years, the name Parmesan may only be applied to the legendary Italian cheese if it's made in Parma.

According to a report by, Italian agriculture minister Giovanni Alemanno announced that the Italian delegation to the Food and Agriculture Organisation's Codex committee meeting on milk and milk products in Wellington, New Zealand, voted this week to protect the name under EEC Regulation 2081/92.

Parmesan cheese, a staple in pizza and pasta restaurants, is one of a growing number of products to receive Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in the world commodities community. Other high-profile foods with the PDO shield include Prosciutto di Parma and Stilton cheese.

The ruling excludes producers of similar dry cheeses outside of Parma from selling their product as Parmesan. Monikers such as "Italian-style premium cheese," will be acceptable substitutes, the report said.

Parmesan is the accepted English translation of the Italian designation, Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Topics: Cheese

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