A new free trade agreement under consideration between Australia and the European Union (EU) could see local “feta” and “gorgonzola” disappear from Australian supermarket shelves in the future – nominally, that is.
As reported by the ABC, the EU wants certain product names protected under the geographical indications (GI) program – meaning local producers may have to rename their goods.
The federal government has released a list of 408 products – 172 food items and 236 spirits – that the EU wants protected under the agreement.
A GI identifies a product as having distinct characteristics, qualities or reputation that relate to its geographic region of origin.
The list of product names that the EU wants banned from use in Australia also includes “Gruyere”, “Roquefort” and “fontina”. “Scotch” beef and lamb are also on the list, but this restriction is dependent upon Britain remaining in the EU.
Some items on the list, like “Camembert de Normandie” and “prosciutto di Parma” will only be protected under those full names. Even if the proposed bans are passed, local producers will still be able to use “camembert” and “prosciutto” to indicate a product’s style or production technique.
For a name to be excluded from GI protection, it must be proven that the term is used generically, similar to “milk” or “butter”.
Negotiations over the free trade agreement have been underway for the past year. Through the agreement, Australia hopes to gain better access to a market worth almost $25 trillion for exports of beef, sugar and wheat.
Public consultations on the proposal launched on August 13 and will be open until November 13. Have your say here.