#Geography #Food

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Champagne isn’t the only drink (or food) whose geographical origin is protected. In fact, countries can make agreements with each other to protect a food’s geographical origin overseas as well as at home. These are geographical indications, which give foods a protected geographical status.
Have you ever wondered what the difference between feta and fetta is? Wonder no more.

-Credits 🙏-
Pictures:
Gruyère for sale – Smabs Sputzer (1956-2017) CCBY 2.0 (flickr)
Gruyère aging – Richard Allaway CCBY 2.0 (flickr)
La Mancha plain – Miguel Angel Masegosa Martínez CCBY2.0 (flickr)
Manchega sheep on grass – Miguel Angel Masegosa Martínez CCBY2.0 (flickr)
Manchega sheep on road – Miguel Angel Masegosa Martínez CCBY2.0 (flickr)
Stilton – Jonathan Pearson CCBY2.0 (flickr)

Map:
Many thanks to Shaded Relief: http://www.shadedrelief.com/index.html

-Sources 📖-
List of consumables protected by the EU:
https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/food-safety-and-quality/certification/quality-labels/geographical-indications-register/

List of consumables the EU wants Australia to protect (you can click each one to find out why the EU thinks they should be protected):
https://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/agreements/negotiations/aeufta/public-objections-gis/Pages/list-of-european-union-geographic-indications-gis

WTO on geographical indications:
https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/27-trips_04b_e.htm

Gorgonzola website:

Gorgonzola cheese: origins

More about Greek feta:
https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/food-safety-and-quality/certification/quality-labels/eu-quality-food-and-drink/feta_en

Another stub about Greek feta and Australian fetta:

Feta cheese bone of contention between Australia and the EU

EU and Swiss mutual protections:
https://www.aop-igp.ch/de/ueber-aop-igp/aop-igp-in-europa/

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I think the best way to overcome this is by EU's GI style, but other countries should not be allowed to produce same. For example Gruyere remain produced only in Switzerland only and producer of Australian Gru-yeah should not produce Gru-yeah anymore but instead develop their own Australian cheese which mimics local conditions so it will be unique on its own also.

  2. That was far more interesting than I thought. I am sure in Canada and the US this is way more complicated and messy. Not that I drink a lot of champagne and eat a lot of speciality cheeses.

  3. Indian here and there is one similar case in India.

    In the state of Maharashtra, a specific type of Mango, The Alphonso Mango is grown which is pretty reputed for its taste. And yeah, If there was a king if all mangoes, it would be these specific ones grown here.
    But the same variety of mango is grown across India with varying tastes. So here is the tussle, farmers of that region want to "Trademark" that particular variety which will affect the growth and sale of the variety across India.
    It gets weirder when you realise, Within the state and that particular region there is already a district that wants Geo status as is against it being given to the entire region.

  4. Here in Brazil, localy produced cheeses are labeled as "queijo tipo …" ("…-type cheese"), for example "queijo tipo roquefort" or "queijo tipo gorgonzola". It's enough to differentiate, considering most stores don't even sell the European imported ones.

  5. Very interesting topic. I'd say that they should come up with a universal system that allows now-generic names but still has a way to prove if its from the original region. For Irish examples of protected foods, I know of the Waterford blaa (a bread roll) and Irish Poitín. Time to go to that EU list to learn more!

  6. A fact about Prosecco wine: I’m from the province of Trevìso, Northern Italy, where there are the towns of Conegliàno and Valdobbiàdene, the towns (together with the surrounding hills) where the real Prosecco was originally produced. Prosecco should need, as long time producers say, grapes cultivated in the hills, specifically the hills of the northern part of Treviso province. Now Prosecco is still produced over there, but since it’s very profitable for the economy of my region, Veneto, the regional government some years ago passed a law that states more or less that if you use grapes grown in the plane terrain of the Po Valley (much cheaper terrains to acquire compared to the millions of € for a small field in Valdobbiàdene or Conegliàno) but you bottle it in the original area of origin of Prosecco and use just a small percentage of real Prosecco grapes you can sell it as real Prosecco. This has mainly been done for economic reasons, so they can produce cheap wine to sell abroad with many profits, and the region earns a lot of money with this. If you want real Prosecco abroad, be sure to buy the one with the small sign in which is written DOC or DOP or DOCG, or DM me so I can give you a good website from which to order some good real Prosecco directly from the producer for not so much money.

  7. I think there shouldn't be a restriction, it seems pretentious and just creates a monopoly on food stuffs. Regardless of what we think geography usually doesn't change at the borders. If we take feta cheese as an example Western parts of Turkey share the same fauna and climate to that of Greece and they raise goats and sheep there too. But because there is a border between the two countries one has a monopoly on a basic dairy product.
    To me it should be labeled as "White Cheese (Greece)" or "Sparkling Wine (France)". At the end of the day feta is just white cheese and champagne is just sparkling wine.

  8. These geography things are so stupid. Like I'm imagining right now a situation in the future where humans have colonized another star system and want some champagne to celebrate landing and there like "oh shit we didn't bring any gotta wait 8 years to go back and get some from France instead of just easily making it here, because champagne isn't champagne if it isn't made in France amirite!" It's so stupid.

    If you make the product a certain way, it shouldn't matter if it's made in France, the opposite side of the globe, on Mars, or even hell on the opposite side of the observable universe. If it's made a certain way, no matter where, it is that thing. Trying to enforce geographic specifications just add more complexity and are stupid. Like I don't look at bread and see it as bread and then once I'm told it's not made in a specific geographic area go "oh shit I guess it wasn't bread after all" That goes for all food/beverages/etc

  9. And of course this gets way more complicated in the US, where Geographical Indications are handled under completely areas of law (They are related to trademarks in the US). The complicated nature and the fact that both the EU and US have felt like the other ignores their GIs has resulted in countless problems. The US tends to have a lot less GIs enforced than the EU from my experience though.

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