Cheesemaker unfettered by potential ban

A LAUNCESTON feta maker says she would not be too concerned if a ban by the European Union to prohibit US cheesemakers from using the word feta was also applied in Australia.

The EU is in trade talks with the US to ban names such as Parmesan, feta, Gorgonzola and prosciutto to have exclusive use of the European names for the traditional products, as a way to assist countries reeling from recession.

Westhaven Dairy matriarch Lorraine Mance said if the ban was extended, changing the name of their goat and cow milk feta to something like "feta-style" would not have a great impact.

"I honestly don't think it would be a huge thing to put `style' or some other word in. For us, it wouldn't be a major issue because we are only small, but, of course, there is always the problem of changing the labels."

One of the arguments put forward by the EU was that the non- authentic US Parmesans and fetas were inferior products to the original cheeses, and thus hampered sales and marketability of European cheeses.

Mrs Mance said although she had never been to Greece, her feta was very close to the original.

She said using the word feta for her cheese allowed consumers to recognise the product.

"That is the style of the cheese - it is like a knitting pattern, that is the way you make it," she said.

"I started making ours on the farm and that is probably why we have the more traditional taste and we've had people who have been to Greece say our feta is just like [the cheese] they tasted in Greece."

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