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US-made cheese can now be termed 'gruyère', court rules
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

7 March 2023

US-made cheese can now be termed 'gruyère', court rules

A US appeals court has ruled that the name 'gruyère' can now be used to label cheeses made outside the Gruyère region of Switzerland and in France. The Court of Appeals of Virginia upheld a prior decision finding 'gruyère' to be a generic term used for a number of cheeses. Its decision was seen as a victory for US dairy groups, including The Consortium for Common Food Names, US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) who were among a coalition of dairy stakeholders arguing for the use of the term in the US market. The ruling should put an end to attempts made by Swiss and French consortiums to stop the use of a common food name through a US certification mark registration. USDEC said the decision reinforces an understanding that “generic terms like 'gruyère' refer to types of food and a method of production regardless of where they are produced”. Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC, said that the ruling was an “outstanding result for manufacturers and farmers” in the US. She continued: “We’re grateful that the Appeals Court agreed that nobody owns the exclusive right to use generic terms. This sets a terrific precedent for the right to use common food names in the United States. Now we need other countries to likewise stand up for what’s right and defend that use just as strongly.” Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, added that the announcement represented a “significant win for America’s dairy farmers”. He added: “NMPF rejects blatant European attempts to unjustly limit competition from American companies and will continue to fight alongside our allies to oppose efforts to monopolise common name foods.”

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