Much like the fact that champagne can only be called champagne if it’s produced in the Champagne region, it’s looking like the EW is going to try and ban Australian producers from using a hefty list of names and terms for things made outside of Europe, including ‘feta’ and ‘mortadella bologna’.
In a list published by Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, the protection of the geographical indication of 172 foods and over 200 spirits are apparently “non-negotiables” for the European Union during trade talks with Australia.
Speaking with the ABC, Simon Birmingham says that although these geographical indications aren’t favoured with Australian farmers and producers, he says that they’ll fight hard to keep the rights to use product names and not have to resort to terms that allude to the original. Because we all know that “crumbly, pasteurised goats milk” definitely doesn’t have the same ring to it as “feta”, Jesus wept.
“We will put up a strong fight in terms of areas of Australian interests,” he said this week.
“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is get the best possible deal that ensures Australian businesses and farmers can get better access to a market engaging 500 million potential consumers.”
Though the list of products is quite specific and includes a lot of specialities from countries like Spain, Germany, Austria, Croatia, and France, it’s looking like Aussie cheesemongers may be the ones hit hardest. If the EU doesn’t budge on these conditions, the list demands that cheeses like Gruyère, Feta, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano, Beaufort, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Blue Stilton among others are big no-nos.
It may also hit the deli and butchers counters in other ways as well, with products like Mortadella Bologna, Scotch Beef, and Prosciutto di Parma making the list.
Over in the booze aisle, different ouzo varietals, grappa, scotch whisky and Irish cream are on the list, and I’m livid that the EU wants to keep these all to themselves, don’t you dare take my Akropolis Ouzo away because it’s made here in Aus.
Sorry but imagine asking someone to pass the “olive-stuffed mystery meat” and the “blue-mould crumbly cheese” at a dinner party/nibblies to go along with your “weapons-grade clear spirit”. No. That’s just absurd and I reject it entirely, thank you.Image: Getty Images / John W Banagan