The Consortium for Common Food Names is urging the European Union to deny a geographical indication (GI) proposal that would give Denmark exclusive use to the term “havarti.”
“We expect the European Commission to do the right thing, and respect the common name “havarti,” which is used around the world,” said Jaime Castaneda, consortium executive director. “As we have seen in other cases, there are ways to protect the names of geographical specialty foods and beverages without impeding the rights to use generic food names.”
Castaneda said a restriction would be an egregious example of a policy gone wrong since there is already a global standard for havarti.
The consortium says a better example of what can be done is give specific identifiers rather than generic names such as “Gouda Holland,” “Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar” and “Holsteiner Tilsiter,” where the approved GIs are protected only as compound names.
The consortium filed an objection as part of the EU’s GI review process in late June.
The International Dairy Foods Association, founding member of the consortium, said “protecting the ability of US cheese makers to use common cheese names in the United States and international markets is a top priority.”
The consortium said a Codex Alimentarius standard was established for havarti in 2007 with approval from Europe. The standard demonstrated that the cheese is produced and marketed throughout the world. The consortium said the current GI application undermines this standard.