Editorial: Don’t change the name on our Parmesan cheese

Published Mar 14, 2014 at 12:11AM

Does your Parmesan cheese come from Parma, Italy? If not, the European Union wants to change the name, leading to endless confusion at the grocer.

The move, being suggested in trade talks, could also affect feta, Gorgonzola and possibly Asiago, Greek yogurt, Valencia oranges and much more, according to the Associated Press.

The Europeans argue the names, many in use for decades, damage the identity of European products. Banning the names on American products would give European goods a big advantage. A customer looking for a familiar American-made cheese would find a confusing new name — maybe “hard-grated cheese” — and find the word “Parmesan” only on a European product nearby.

For U.S. businesses, the stakes are high. For consumers, the result would be nothing but confusion and higher prices. The Europeans say the American products are inferior. If that’s so, let the superior foods win consumers based on quality and price.