MILK – So Parmigiano Reggiano has decided to fight the Italian sounding in the United States

The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium raises its sights in the fight against the Italian sounding in the United States which is also the subject of the TTIP negotiations between the European Union and the US, according to a recent statement issued by the Consortium.

The statement says that after having reported to the European Commission a phenomenon that affects the Parmigiano Reggiano with 100 thousand tons of products sold in the United States with the term Parmesan and in packaging that clearly recalls Italy, the Consortium now throws in the results of a research developed by AICOD showing that in addition to the damage to Italian producers there is also the misleading situation weighing on American consumers.

The results emerging from the research leave no doubt. For 66% of American consumers the term Parmesan is not a generic term as argued by the American dairy industry, but it identifies a hard cheese with a specific geographical origin that 90% of the people interviewed undoubtedly indicated as Italy.

“We have shown to the people interviewed two packs of Parmesan made in the US, said the director of the Consortium Riccardo Deserti, of which one without references to Italy and the other one characterized by clear references to the Italian flag. Already in the first case, 38% of consumers have indicated the product as cheese coming from Italy, but the situation appeared even more serious when consumers were faced with packaging featuring factors of the Italian sounding such as the Italian flag or Italian monuments and art: in this case 67% of American buyers is sure to be looking at an authentic Italian product”.

“A deception, said Giuseppe Alai, president of the Consortium, which affects tens of millions of US consumers and that is a serious threat to the increase in exports and, consequently, an evident damage for our producers.”

The figures are clear. The US ranks third after Germany and France in the ranking exports of Parmigiano Reggiano.

In the US, in fact, in 2014 exports reached 6.597 tons of products corresponding to 17.8% of the total exports. In the first 8 months of 2015 there was a 28.8% export increase and this growth could literally explode if we were to reduce the amount of cheese that in the US refers explicitly to Italy.

“Alai said that the open battle during the TTIP negotiations will not be easy because those 100 thousand tons of product circulating in the US are illegal according to the European legislation on PDOs, but are not yet considered so by the industry and the American legislation. In his final thought Alai said that one of the ways to fight the product that recalls Parmigiano Reggiano and Italy could be this research that we will present at the beginning of 2016 in Brussels and which clearly shows that American consumers are deceived by practices that result in a clear loss for our producers, holders of the most counterfeited, imitated and evoked PDO in the United States”.