Food names targeted by the European Union

The EU is calling for some Australian cheeses, including feta, to carry different names.
The EU is calling for some Australian cheeses, including feta, to carry different names.

The cheese names Feta, Gruyere, Manchego, Gorgonzola, deli meat Proscuitto di Parma and the liquor Grappa may appear on your supermarket shelves with another name.

Some Australian food and drink products would need to be re-named under strict changes proposed by the European Union under a proposed free trade deal.

But Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has vowed to drive a "very hard bargain" with the EU, which is pursuing the product name issue in its negotiations with the federal government.

The EU wants protections for food and drink brands in its region, and if it's successful Australian feta-makers could be forced to refer to their cheese as "Australian feta".

Senator Birmingham is heading out to talk to cheese makers on Tuesday and is expecting to hear concerns from farmers.

Local spirits producers would also need to avoid using the term "Scotch whiskey".

Packaging may also need to be changed for some Australian products, such as mozzarella cheese so it doesn't look too similar to European brands.

Senator Birmingham says the coalition government will spend the next three months consulting with the industries likely to be impacted under the proposed changes.

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"Ultimately, we will only do this deal if overall it is in Australia's interests to do so," he told The Australian on Tuesday.

"We want to hear directly from Australian farmers and businesses so that we can fully represent them in our continuing negotiations with the EU."

The EU is Australia's second-largest trading partner, third-largest export destination and second-largest services export market.

Australian Associated Press

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