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Singapore, victory for Parmigiano Reggiano

The Consortium estimates that the counterfeit turnover outside the EU is 2 billion euros

After the victory in mid-March in Colombia, a country where the sixth attempt by the Alpina group to register the "Parmesano" brand was stopped, the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, in charge of protecting the PDO all over the world, is celebrating another success. The judge of the High Court of Singapore has in fact rejected the appeal of Fonterra Brands (a wholly owned subsidiary of Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, a multinational cooperative company based in New Zealand) which, following the registration in the country of the name Parmigiano Reggiano as Geographical Indication, filed a request to request that the term “Parmesan” not be considered a translation of the name of the PDO.

The purpose of the company was obviously to limit the scope of protection of the Ig Parmigiano Reggiano in order to market without contestation in Singapore, under the name "Parmesan", a cheese with the "Perfect Italiano" brand, which adopts the colors of the Tricolor Italian on its packaging although produced in New Zealand and/or Australia.
The Consortium immediately opposed it, obtaining a favorable decision from the IPOS office (Intellectual Property Office of Singapore). Fonterra Brands' appeal before the High Court of Singapore was rejected: the judge established that “Parmesan” should be considered a translation of “Parmigiano Reggiano”, as demonstrated by the Consortium.

In 2008, the Court of Justice of the European Union established that only Parmigiano Reggiano DOP cheese can be sold under the Parmesan denomination within the European Union. However, the legislation that protects the name Parmigiano Reggiano within the EU does not apply in all countries of the world, opening the door to incorrect uses of the name for cheeses produced in the United States and other countries. The Consortium estimates that the turnover of fake Parmesan outside the European Union is 2 billion euros, around 200,000 tons of product, or more than 3 times the volume of Parmigiano Reggiano exported.

"In Singapore, the Consortium achieved another important victory in its global fight against the illegitimate use of the term Parmesan, one year after the one achieved in Ecuador and a few days after the case of Colombia", declared Nicola Bertinelli, president of the Consortium. "The decision of the High Court of Singapore represents an important result for the system of Geographical Indications in South-East Asia, as it reaffirms the fundamental importance of the link between product, territory and Designation of Origin. The action of our Consortium is carried out in the interest of both the entire Parmigiano Reggiano supply chain and consumers around the world, who from today, even in Singapore, will no longer run the risk of being deceived at the time of purchase".

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EFA News - European Food Agency