Voices from CCFN supporters:
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“Italian, Swiss and Danish immigrants brought to our land their knowledge, traditions and names of food products. Many of the cheese names we use have become protected GIs in Europe, despite the fact that these names were established here for more than a century as generic names, or have become trademarks that identify local producers.
Moreover, several of those terms were also adopted many years ago by the international food standards Codex program. In addition, we subsequently have had the formation of MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market), comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, which has also adopted these generic terms, identifying standards and quality for common, generically named cheese products.”
– Miguel Paulón, Presidente, Centro de la Industria Lechera Argentina
“The American Farm Bureau Federation represents the interests of farmers and ranchers from across the United States. The variety, quality and reliability of products from American agriculture are valued and appreciated by U.S. consumers and by our customers around the world. Farm Bureau policy opposes Geographical Indicators that would replace common names used by producers and consumers from around the world. The AFBF supports the continued use of the common names by which our food products have long been known and the effort to preserve this practice.”
– American Farm Bureau Federation
“For over 60 years in Costa Rica and Central America, our producers and processors have, in good faith, used generic names to describe various types of cheese such as edam, cheddar, gouda, emmenthal and parmesan, among others. The National Chamber of Milk Producers of Costa Rica on behalf of producers and industry partners, has struggled to continue using these names in the present and the future, so we are very proud to belong to the Consortium and to continue this struggle in partnership with many producers and industries in the world.”
– Jorge Manuel González E., President, National Chamber of Milk Producers of Costa Rica
“Members of the American Cheese Society focus on making the highest quality artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses, a number of which have won awards in both national and international competitions. Many commonly used names for American cheeses have deep roots in European history, but American cheesemakers have made these products their own, thereby contributing greatly to their popularity around the world.”
– The American Cheese Society
“Over half the dairy farm families in New England belong to Agri-Mark. We are very proud of our rich tradition as a cooperative, tracing back our roots to 1916. Our well-known cheese brands, Cabot and McCadam, are known for their award-winning products including muenster and a wide variety of exceptional cheddars, as well as many others. Agri-Mark farmers take pride in their milk and in the great cheeses made from them. U.S. consumers are already well aware of what great cheese New England can make.
As we work to introduce more people around the world to our great cheeses, we need to make sure that names with a long history of widespread usage, including in the U.S., remain open to us. Give us the chance to put our cheddar head-to-head against anyone’s and compete fairly on that basis for what the consumer wants!”
– Richard Stammer, CEO, Agri-Mark
“The EU is the world’s leading producer of wine. Producing some 175m hl (4.6 billion gallons) every year, it accounts for 45% of wine-growing areas, 65% of production, 57% of global consumption and 70% of exports in global terms. Nevertheless, the EU has introduced regulations to provide even greater economic advantage for their winemakers by protecting common descriptive terms against the supposed danger of misuse or other practices liable to mislead the consumer. This protection is in addition to protection for wine geographic indications. The justification was that these terms are distinctive and/or enjoy an established reputation in the EU and have been traditionally used for at least 10 years; in other words, they are ‘common terms.’
As a result, third-country winemakers exporting to the EU can no longer include on their labels words such as “noble”, “classic”, “cream”, “superior”, “vintage”, “fine”, “ruby”, “chateau” and “clos” unless they engage in a protracted and complex application process, involving definitions for the terms and submitting evidence of their extended use in the producing market – a process which is in any case subject to potential objection by EU Member States.
There are now 290 such terms that are protected and each year the list grows larger. Wine industry organizations outside the EU (assisted on occasion by their governments) have been working to combat this sort of activity for many years. Other sectors are right to be concerned about how the EU’s approach will ultimately impact them as well.”
– Tom LaFaille, Wine Institute
“The European Community has been seeking to claw back the common names that we have been using for decades in Costa Rica and Central America by local farmers and immigrants. On this matter, the Consortium plays an essential role and we are proud to be part of it. It is essential to protect the rights of producers and processors to maintain the ability to use generic names such as parmesan. Otherwise, thousands of small and medium-sized producers in Central America will be affected economically.”
– José L. Vargas Leitón, Gerente General, Corporación Monteverde CR, S.A.
“For generations U.S. companies have produced high-quality, European-style meat products, enjoyed by millions of Americans and exported to consumers around the world. We fully support efforts by the Consortium to protect the right to continue marketing these products using the common names by which they’ve always been known.”
– William Westman, Vice President for International Trade, North American Meat Institute
“We believe — as does the Consortium — that there’s a way to protect the names of distinctive, high-quality food products, such as Washington State apples, without stepping on the ability to market foods with common names.”
– Chris Schlect, President, Northwest Horticultural Council