The European Politics Blog

The Battle over Gruyere Cheese

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Gruyère cheese made in France is to now be different from the trademark Swiss Gruyère. A three year long battle had ensued about who owned the rights to produce the cheese. The makers of both the French Gruyère and the Swiss Gruyère claimed the mark of quality, the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, an official mark presented to regional produce which possessed their own uniqueness and were manufactured through traditional methods.

The French, wanting their cheese to be recognised far and wide, vied for the newer hallmark, Appellation d’Origine Protegée which the Swiss protested to because Gruyère originates from a Swiss town in the Alpine hills. The French Gruyère cheese is matured near France’s border with Switzerland and so did not qualify for an Appellation d’Origine Protegée, but the European Commission recently announced the protection of the title “Gruyere” through the introduction of the requirement that French Gruyère cheese must be distinctly different and packaging must state the French origin with clarity.

Earlier on the Swiss Gruyère singularly profited from a similar protection, granted by a bilateral accord in between the EU and non-member Switzerland. Australian and New Zealand producers, along with the milk sector in America opposed the move to chart the French Gruyère as an individual product.

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