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Parmigiano Reggiano: concern about no deal in the UK

The Consortium fears that competition from fakes on the British market would increase

It could also generate new tariffs in a market already tried by the pandemic

The UK is the fourth foreign market for Parmigiano Reggiano with 6,969 tonnes of imported product in 2019. In the event of a no deal there will be no significant changes from the point of view of brand protection, because Parmigiano Reggiano is a registered trademark in the UK and enjoys the legal protection that also extends to the term parmesan. But the concern is strong for several reasons: from the risk of convergence of possible new duties to the reflections of a probable post-Covid economic crisis that would impact on the spending power of families across the Channel, the Consortium writes today on its web page.

If Italian agri-food products were left without European protection, the entire sector would suffer unfair competition from imitation products made abroad and in non-EU countries. A recent example occurred a few months ago when the Consortium stepped in to eliminate Selfridges   an illegal product called "Grated italian style Parmesans". The product did not contain Parmigiano Reggiano at all: it was composed of a mixture of cashews, nutritional yeast, Himalayan salt, garlic and truffle oil. Following the Consortium's request, the company has eliminated any reference to the PDO from its brand.

With the eventual no deal there is the risk that these cases will increase and, above all, that consumers are no longer protected. People are increasingly attentive to the authenticity of the food they bring to the table and, precisely for this reason, the Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano continues to fight the misuse of the term "parmesan" and similar evocations to guarantee the consumer that when they ask for Parmigiano Reggiano be served the authentic.

"Another potential risk associated with Brexit is that legislation unfavorable to Italian agri-food exports is implemented in the UK, such as the 'traffic light' nutrition label that is spreading in most UK supermarkets and unfairly rejects much of the of Made in Italy products with PDO status. Then there is the risk of new duties, a scenario that the consortia will have to manage in coordination with the European Union. It should also be borne in mind that the costs of the Consortium for the protection of supervision in the UK will increase, as leaving the EU, the ex-oficio protection rule will no longer be valid: the protection and supervision actions will therefore be fully borne by the consortia of protection”,commented Nicola Bertinelli, president of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium.

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