The Consorzio Tutela Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) have signed an historic agreement that is expected to pave the way for a new dialogue on the protection of products of origin in the United States and in global markets - including those bearing geographical indications (GIs), while respecting the rights of companies to produce and market products bearing generic names. The new agreement provides greater support for robust protection in the United States and around the world for the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), while unequivocally establishing the free use of the generic term "mozzarella" to indicate a type of cheese. Consorzio President Domenico Raimondo, and CCFN Executive Director and USDEC Senior Vice President Jaime Castaneda, signed the agreement yesterday in Caserta, Italy.
The agreement recognizes the distinctive character of the name Mozzarella di Bufala Campana PDO and its territory of production. It also recognizes the rights of all to freely use the term "mozzarella" to describe a cheese produced according to the definition provided by the Codex Alimentarius or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Standards of Identity.
"This agreement will bring clarity to American and global consumers while protecting their ability to choose from a wide selection of high-quality cheese products," Castaneda said. "This is an important step toward furthering conversations to protect the rights of common name producers as well as good faith GI holders. We look forward to continuing to work with our Italian colleagues to build upon this foundation of mutual respect for our respective food and wine industries."
The United States is the largest non-EU export market for Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, making this agreement a significant step towards protecting both valid GIs and the use of common food names. In addition, Raimondo and Castaneda sent a joint letter to the European Commission and to the U.S. and Italian governments asking that they honor the agreement and support efforts to protect both the name Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and the free use of the term mozzarella in markets across the globe.
"We have embarked on the path of discussion with the main organizations in the sector in the USA, with the aim of listening to each other's needs and addressing them in an operational, pragmatic way, and without prejudicial attitudes," said Raimondo, who is also president of the Association of Italian Cheeses DOP (AFIDOP). "Our staff have been determined and worked diligently and this agreement is the first fruit of a collaboration that we hope will be extended to other cheeses and bring, if anything, the resolution of long-standing problems. We have sent a message to politics: we must start from this dialogue; it is the starting point for relaxing relations. Only in this way can we avoid closures and protectionist policies."
The summit between the Consorzio, CCFN and USDEC was also attended by the chairmen of Assolatte and CCFN.
The Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) is an independent, international non-profit alliance whose goal is to work with leaders in agriculture, trade and intellectual property rights to foster the adoption of high standards and model geographical indication guidelines throughout the world. Those interested in joining can find information at www.CommonFoodNames.com.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record. www.usdec.org.