Landmark Common Names Bill Included in House Farm Bill Introduction

ARLINGTON, VA – Last week the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee Chair included the Safeguarding American Value-Added Exports (SAVE) Act as a part of its farm bill reauthorization legislation. The first farm bill effort on common names, the SAVE Act would promote the protection of common food and beverage names – such as “parmesan”, “chateau” and “bologna.”

The Act is co-sponsored in the House by Representatives by Reps. Dusty Johnson, R-SD, Jim Costa D-CA, Michelle Fischbach, R-MN, and Jimmy Panetta, D-CA, and in the Senate by Sens. John Thune, R-SD, Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, Roger Marshall, R-KS, and Tina Smith, D-MN.

“Over the past decade, the European Union has been allowed to aggressively misuse and abuse geographical indications to monopolize common name products across several key markets,” said Jaime Castaneda, Executive Director of the Consortium for Common Food Names. “The SAVE Act is an important step in the right direction to making sure that our producers can fairly compete in the global marketplace.”

Beyond the European market, the EU has forced countries around the world to disregard their intellectual property laws and existing commitments with the United States to impose protectionist geographical indication rules under the pretenses of free trade agreement negotiations. In many cases, these policies block U.S. and other producers from reaching important international markets.

“The SAVE Act will help support the current and future Administrations in taking action to protect common names, and in turn, the rights and commercial interests of domestic producers,” Castaneda stated. “The U.S. has the political and economic resources to reverse this trend, and we believe the SAVE Act is the beginning.”

Many agricultural producers in the United States and around the world depend on common food and beverage terms – such as parmesan, chateau, or bologna – to market and sell their products. Since 2009, the EU has used trade negotiations and intellectual property rules to confiscate common names for their own producers – essentially monopolizing certain products in specific markets. For American farmers and producers, this leads to lost opportunities overseas and expensive fights domestically, in addition to fewer choices for consumers. Recently, there have been significant efforts from the private sector to defend common names, including a favorable U.S. Court of Appeals ruling last year.

CCFN Statement on 2024 Farm Bill Overview

ARLINGTON, VA – CCFN Executive Director Jaime Castaneda issued a statement on the Congressional Farm Bill summary rollout today:

“The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) views the farm bill as a vital opportunity to create a specific policy to address the increasing harm facing American food and beverage manufacturers in light of the European Union’s attempts to impose worldwide bans on commonly used terms – words such as parmesan, bologna, classic, kölsch beer and basmati rice.

This is a priority concern for U.S. exporters and CCFN is pleased to see the forward movement in that process as indicated by the proposals issued today by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow. CCFN is ready to work closely with both committees to advance a strong farm bill and ensure the inclusion of the type of robust protections for the use of common food and beverage terms in global markets that are laid out in the Safeguarding Value-Added Exports Act.”