Heard on Hoard’s: Speak Up in Defense of Common Terms

November 30th, 2020

In October, CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda joined Hoard’s Dairyman for a webinar where he broke down what exactly is a geographical indication (GI) and the mission of CCFN. Castaneda was also joined by Jeff Schwager, CEO of Sartori Cheese (a CCFN member), and Andy Novakovic, an Agricultural Economist at Cornell University.

Fighting back against the misuse of GIs is a key issue for dairy producers in particular because specialty cheeses are one of the fastest growing dairy markets around the world and the ability of U.S. producers to continue to use common terms – such as feta, parmesan or gruyere – is in jeopardy.

“While [a GI] is meant to denote a product that is specifically produced in a defined area, it has been wielded as a trade weapon,” wrote Maggie Gilles, a Kansas dairy farmer, in an op-ed on Hoard’s Dairyman following the webinar.

The EU’s mission to monopolize common food and wine terms is detrimental to U.S. agriculture as a whole, regardless of whether a manufacturer or supplying farmer currently produces an item at risk. Together, we all need to speak up in defense of common food and wine terms to advance fair trade rules and protect valuable market share.