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[P]
EU tries to leverage 'geographic indications' at the WTO

By jjayson in Op-Ed
Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:31:54 AM EST
Tags: Food (all tags)
Food

No more New York cheddar cheese, no more California Basmati rice, and no more Pilsner beer from your favorite microbrew. Why? Because cheddar can only be made in a certain area of Great Britian, Basmati rice can only be grown in India, and Pilsner beer can only be brewed in the Czech Republic. Now who decided that?


During this latest World Trade Organization round in Cancun, the European Union is trying to gain support for, what many are calling, its latest protectionist tool, the "geographic indication" (GI). The EU proposal is an attempt to end-around the common trademark system and disallow products named after a region or associated with a particular region unless they were produced there.

Supposedly, that is why we have a trademark system that exists in most countries. The EU proposal would create a new international registry of GIs, and nations would be required to police their companies and prevent them from using marks in the registry. This means that a new regulatory bureaucracy would need to be created in each country. In the EU, so far over 2,100 such GIs are already recognized and enforced, and the number is constantly growing. We would expect to see those drift into the international registry too.

For example, even though "parmigiano reggiano" was already registered as a trademark in the US by an Italian group, showing that the system appears to be adequate, that would be overturned. Now, only Parmesan cheese produced in Parma, Italy, would be allowed to carry not just the parmigiano reggiano label, but also any version or translation of it. Parmesan would be off-limits, as would Parmesan-like or Wisconsin Parmesan.

This proposal appears to be just a way to gain leverage in negotiations. The EU has "one of the world's most illiberal farm policies, … a standing insult to economic intelligence." The Economist outlines the problem in a September 13 article, "The Mexican marathon":

It starts with price supports -- what the WTO calls domestic support. The EU props up prices for its own farmers, keeping even the expensive ones in business. In fact, the EU's prices are so high that its farmers want to produce more than its consumers want to buy. Unwanted at home and too expensively produced to sell abroad, the surplus produce is offloaded on to world markets with the help of $2.5 billion in annual export subsidies. In other words, having propped up prices for its farmers, the EU then subsidises the price for the rest of the world's consumers, depressing prices on world markets. And that is not the end of it. The EU must impose import tariffs to stop low-cost farmers in the rest of the world exploiting the gap between low world prices and high EU prices. One distortion invites another, which creates the need for a third.
Knowing that the EU must cede ground on tariffs, it can either use the GI proposal as a threat, backing its protectionist tariff system, or it can give up something on the tariff front in exchange for support of the GI issue.

The problems is that many of the names have become generic to most people. Feta no longer refers to a kind of cheese produced only in Greece, just as New England clam chowder can be made anywhere. Also, the costs could be terrible. Michael Pellegrino, vice president in Kraft's cheese division, testified before a congressional committee that the change would "likely require millions of dollars in packaging costs and an extensive, multimillion-dollar marketing campaign just to preserve, rather than grow, our existing level of sales." Sarah Thorn of the Grocery Manufacturers of America adds to the costs, claiming that the loss of even just one name "could represent hundreds of millions of dollars" to the trade group's members. It isn't just the US that doesn't like it either; the complaints have come from New Zealand to Canada.

Places like America and Canada are nations of relatively recent immigrants. An Italian butcher came to America with his family and the knowledge of how to make a Parma ham, so he made it in the traditional style that he always has. How is this any different from being made in Italy? For some, even the same cheese cultures are used:

After 138 years in business, the Marin French Cheese Co. in Petaluma has just as valid a claim to Camembert as does the French hamlet in Normandy, said Jim Boyce, the owner, whose card identifies him as "purveyor of curds."

"At the microbiological level, the cultures we use (originally) come from France," he said. "We're embedded in name, in practice, in microbiology. We would be deeply upset, hurt and grievously damaged if the United States should acquiesce to removing these names."

To some it would appear sensible to prevent a cheese maker from calling their cheese Parmesan, but forbidding Parmesan-like seems to be going far beyond reasonable. And why can Parmesan cheese only be made in Parma? Can not the same production techniques be used in Wisconsin as well as Italy or when a trained Italian cheese maker moves out of Italy, can he no longer make Parmesan cheese?
Errico Auricchio also thinks this type of protection is baloney. Born in Naples, he moved to the U.S. 24 years ago and started a cheese company in Denmark, Wisconsin. Many of his products are on the E.U.'s list, including Parmesan, Gorgonzola and Asiago. Two years ago, Auricchio introduced a new product called Parveggiano. When he tried to use the name after registering it, the Italians sued, saying the name was too similar to Parmigiano, which they have trademarked in the U.S. The two sides recently settled out of court, but Auricchio is undeterred. "It's crazy. It will backfire on them. They cannot supply Parmesan cheese all over the world," he complains. As for the names, "Italian is just an adjective. We call them French fries and English muffins but we don't think they come from France or England.
How far does this go? Can a California sushi roll only be made in California or a Philly cheese steak only be made in the City of Brotherly Love? Will a New Zealand restaraunt no longer be able to make French cuisine? Or maybe a restaraunt specializing in world food in Japan will no longer be able to sell New England clam chowder.

Of course there is always the issue of getting American trademarks in Europe. Despite the rhetoric of European countries supporting regional markings, the Idaho Potato Commission hasn't been able to register Idaho potatoes in France.

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Related Links
o "The Mexican marathon"
o even the same cheese cultures are used
o this type of protection is baloney
o Also by jjayson


Display: Sort:
EU tries to leverage 'geographic indications' at the WTO | 520 comments (474 topical, 46 editorial, 0 hidden)
Wank (2.87 / 8) (#1)
by debacle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:42:36 AM EST

Rewrite the last paragraph, it sounds stupid.

This sounds pretty gay, but at the same time understandable (If they weren't adding all of the political fluff). It seems reasonable to not allow deceptive names (I've had "parmigiano reggiano" that's tasted like chalkiano dustiano) in places, but parma-like or any iteration of that form doesn't seem so wrong to me.

The whole subsidies idea is bunk, and it has been but will never end unless people wake up. For one, the United States makes bread, grain, cereal, you name it. We make it more, faster, and cheaper than (almost) anywhere else.

What's the point of making citizens pay more for "home grown" stuff?

Oh, that's right, to piss the US off!

I don't think, with this current outlook, that the EU will be able to defeat the North American Triad.

And yes, North American Triad is a very sweet name for a band.

It tastes sweet.

Bleugh (4.12 / 8) (#8)
by spasticfraggle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:20:58 AM EST

What's the point of making citizens pay more for "home grown" stuff?

Oh, that's right, to piss the US off!

Oh get over yourself. Western euope, being far more densely populated than the US, and having an agri & horticultural tradition going further back in history has a far simpler, and more rational explanation than sheer spite.

Dropping subsidies today would put most farmers out of business. Those that could survive would be either selling niche products (eco crops), out of season hydro (salad produce), or would be forced to adopt massive changes in order to compete.

Would these massive changes (read "factory farming for horticulture" :-) be a bad idea? If your only criterion is effeciency, probably not. But it is almost impossible to overstate the effects. The rural landscape of western europe would be destroyed. Seriously. There would be no more going out for a "drive in the country" at the weekend, or little summer cottages. The traditional small field with hedges would be gone, replaced with mile upon mile of endless, chemically treated, single-strain crop. The knock-on economic effects for rural villages and hamlets would be equally severe.

The system as it is now is painful to see. I suspect the alternative is worse. This is why farming reform, like so many other reforms, will have to be a very slow thing indeed.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

You have to put people out of business (3.66 / 6) (#10)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:30:00 AM EST

Or you have to prop them up when technology advances. If one man can farm 10x what he used to be able to do, that puts people out of agriculture. That is good. It frees up people to move up higher in the chain (maybe not the farmer, but now his son doesn't need to work the farm and can move up the ladder).

Also, just to save those few farmers you have everybody pay higher prices and that money could be used for other things. It really doesn't help anybody out in the long run.

As it sounds, they are elevating the price too much as there is an oversupply problem, they you fuck over other countries farmer's by subsidizing them to sell at a lower price on the world market. It's very unfair.

Also, EU doesn't get to complain about tariffs and protectionism while they have some of the worst trade rules.

I don't understand your land argument. Are you saying that it would take more land to produce the same amount of food? If you are oversupplying, farmers are growing too much and using more land than necessary. If the EU stopped causing that problem, wouldn't farm land use drop?

You see and we over here in America has this great solution to the pesticide problem. Mendell starting this cool breading technique hundreds of years ago and we have helped it along a little. It's call GE plants. You don't need as much pesticide.

You are just scared of change. We do fine over here (and would do better with less gov't intervention, as it is, the small farmers get hurt the most from regulations and subsidies).
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

no, spasticfraggle is right (4.50 / 8) (#13)
by martingale on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:16:11 AM EST

Or you have to prop them up when technology advances. If one man can farm 10x what he used to be able to do, that puts people out of agriculture. That is good. It frees up people to move up higher
What you fail to accept is that agricultural development isn't subsidized in this case solely to prop up inefficient farmers. On the contrary, the French government has laws preventing farms from consolidating and messing with the landscape.

Farming techniques are sufficiently advanced in Europe to feed the population easily. However, the rural landscape is tended like Central Park in New York. It's about preserving a national landscape for future generations as much as possible.

The subsidies are there to force farmers to stay on the land and keep cows and sheep, essentially regardless of the actual yield. Young people don't want to stay on the farms, so they are being paid more than what they are likely to earn if they go live in cities. It's fucked up, but not because European governments want to depress world prices. They don't want to lose the few forests that are left. They don't want to lose the cows and sheep, even if those didn't produce anything. It's purely politics and quality of life, for a highly urbanized population.

Of course, it gets tricky when the farmers realize that they can export their surplus to make more money, and need protection to prevent European populations from buying cheaper imports. Whether this whole thing is sustainable is anybody's guess.

[ Parent ]

My guess is no (3.50 / 4) (#16)
by debacle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:24:39 AM EST

And here's why:

It didn't work to save The Great Depression farmer, it didn't work in the USSR, and it still isn't working in the US (On a lesser scale).

If something is better and cheaper and faster than what you've got, you try and outdo the competition, you don't negotiate a trade war to stay in business.

And when you lose (And any European country will lose to the US in produce) then you switch industries. That's how it was in the old days, right? That's how it should still be.

However! I don't think that Europeans should buy american produce. It's been sprayed cut stockpiled and then shipped over the sea. I know that I sure as hell wouldn't buy it, no matter how "fresh" it looked. We've got a garden on our property, about the size of a golfing green, and from there we get most of our produce for the year. Saves us probably $2000 a year in "groceries."

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

Subsidies in the US (4.20 / 5) (#21)
by domovoi on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:51:19 AM EST

I wonder if the US would be able to compete if farmers weren't propped up with subsidies out the wazoo. What's largely ignored here is that Europe is not the only place where ag practices are artificially propped up by government intervention in the much-vaunted market.
------------------------------
This is not my signature line.
[ Parent ]
Just yesterday I read (4.00 / 3) (#30)
by iasius on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:12:28 AM EST

an article describing how sugar prices in the US are twice the world price. OTOH I think we have a serious problem here in the EU if a farmer I read an interview with a week ago says he spends 10% of his working hours filling out forms to request subsidies so he can stay in business.


the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
US Sugar (5.00 / 2) (#105)
by domovoi on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:06:54 AM EST

(both the industry and the corporation by that name) has an enormous lobby, sending millions of dollars to the US Congress each year to keep foreign-produced sugar from the US. Of course, the price domestically is artificially high. Of course, at the same time, US Sugar complains of subsidies for other producers on the world market. Typical "Free Market for thee, but not for me" behavior.
------------------------------
This is not my signature line.
[ Parent ]
The Guardian just did an article on this (4.33 / 3) (#223)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:56:13 PM EST

as a number of other places have talked about sugar beets v. sugar cane. The American subsidies appear are still smaller than the EU. Aparently, even though some places can make sugar at less than 1/3rd the price, the EU imported sugar is still cheaper after import are tariffs applied since they subsidies the product so much.

My family grew up near a sugar beet factory, and they smell terrible.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

That's unfortunate. (5.00 / 3) (#292)
by domovoi on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:36:57 AM EST

Perhaps you can tactfully suggest they bathe, or you could present them with gifts of cologne.

Couldn't resist.


------------------------------
This is not my signature line.
[ Parent ]
Cotton (5.00 / 2) (#343)
by nicklott on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:22:31 AM EST

Yeah, the Guardian also had an article about cotton production in the same issue. They compared a cotton farmer in Benin (Africa) with cotton farmer in the US. The African farmer had a better yield, better quality cotton and much lower costs than the US farmer, but he couldn't compete with him because the US farmer received more in subsidies from the government than his entire crop was worth on the world market.

At the end of the article it mentioned that Benin had also tried to subsidise its farmers, but had to drop the subsidies after the US threatened to withdraw all its aid and recall its debt unless it did so. In the interests of free trade of course.

As the the African countries pointed out when they walked out of the trade talks yesterday, "it's one rule for them [the EU and the US], and another for us".

[ Parent ]

Sugar prices. (4.00 / 3) (#196)
by Bartab on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:46:07 PM EST

What's really sad in regards to sugar is that most US (and all EU) production of sugar is sugar beets. Sugar cane on the other hand produces more sugar for the cost (in both effort and land) and generally is conidered a better product. Only Hawaii grows sugar cane in the US.

Of course, Sugar cane is best grown in hot tropical areas, the type that are the prime receivers of aid currently. Protectionism on sugar is not only keeping US prices high, but eliminating a potential cash crop for these areas.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

Only Hawaii grows sugar cane in the US. (5.00 / 1) (#251)
by killmepleez on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:52:03 PM EST

Witness some genuine southern hospitality when you visit my family's farm, or any of several hundred other farms in south/central Louisiana. Perhaps once you've been here you will be better equipped to post a correction of your original statement.

-k

Oh, if Louisiana is too far for you, perhaps Florida would be closer.

__
"...the ways and means of dysfunction are also the ways and means of survival."
-Anthony Swofford, in Parent ]
Sorry, (3.50 / 2) (#259)
by Bartab on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:08:36 PM EST

I don't visit fly over states. Especially ones that receive sugar subsidies.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

The Economist article (4.33 / 3) (#75)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:25:42 PM EST

The Economist article details how the subsidies on multiple levels in the EU artificially depresses global prices. Subsidies are difficult because they cause distortions in the global market that affect producers in all nations. The US has already said that it would drop 3/5 of their sudsidies if the EU would lessen theirs.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
depends on the utility function (4.00 / 5) (#24)
by martingale on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:53:37 AM EST

If something is better and cheaper and faster than what you've got, you try and outdo the competition, you don't negotiate a trade war to stay in business.
Well, European farmers do that too. Getting more yield from less land and better techniques is worth big bucks. But turning the landscape into efficient mega farms like in the Midwest isn't going to happen. There's no room, but also people would simply object. Ask New Yorkers if they'd mind turning Central Park into a private farm.

And when you lose (And any European country will lose to the US in produce) then you switch industries. That's how it was in the old days, right? That's how it should still be.
That's not going to happen for a long time either. Food production is a strategic resource that cannot be abandoned, whatever the costs. Any country that does so willingly is headed by madmen. Before you can have specialization of this sort, you need political unification or an environmental catastrophe. I don't think the EU and US are going to unify politically in the foreseeable future. Environmental catastrophes, maybe...

However! I don't think that Europeans should buy american produce. It's been sprayed cut stockpiled and then shipped over the sea. I know that I sure as
The biggest problem with US produce is the genetic modification. Besides environmental problems, it's a matter of control. African countries refuse to accept GM grain donations, if possible, because it puts them at the mercy of US foreign policy. When your crops are engineered to only grow one season, where do you get the seeds for growing next year's food? Monsanto. For half your GNP.

[ Parent ]
That's kind of where I was going. (3.40 / 5) (#29)
by debacle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:01:43 AM EST

I'd rather eat something organic and natural that cost a little bit more tham Martian food.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]
The GM debate (2.20 / 5) (#74)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:23:45 PM EST

Fuck them all. They bitch when seed could get blown into surrounding areas and contaminate the surrounding area. So that is fixed so they can't spread. Then people bitch that they can't use the seeds for the next year.

There is always something constantly wrong with the seed policy: people complain if they can grow the complain that they can't grow. They need to make up their mind.

Then they send over milled grain, so neither problem could exist and they still reject it.

The only true question is of genetic engineering produced harmful foods, eveything else is BS politics. Considering that we've been genetically modifying plants for centuries, I think that has already been settled.

People in these African countries want the food. There was a CSM article that detailed people wanted to break into a shed holding milled grain except the leaders of the country refused to let their people have it. Some even went to far to speard rumors that GE food causes AIDS.

It's a power struggle and money control and has nothing to do with GE food.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

"People in Africa want the food" (4.50 / 4) (#77)
by djotto on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:55:10 PM EST

Story for you.

US farmers over-produce grain due to subsidies.

To avoid depressing market prices within the US, the Gov buys up the surplus grain.

Then, they've got a choice - they can burn the stuff, or sell it at super-low prices overseas as aid.

Once the aid reaches starving-nation-du-jour, it gets dumped on the local market and depresses prices to the point where local farmers can no longer compete.

Local farmers are either driven out of business or turn to cash crops, and the country becomes more dependant on aid. Ever-decreasing circle.

(Safe bet you can substitute EU for US in all that. We're all guilty.)

Fucked up, huh? Every step in the chain is reasonable (who can complain about giving food to Africa?) - but the end result is a mess.

(I start to worry that I'm stalking you... I'm not, it's just that you seem to make the points I want to respond to this weekend.)

Oh, and the GM issue? Consumer choice. Stick a big label on it so I can avoid it, the other effects will follow.


[ Parent ]

sure (4.00 / 4) (#85)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:22:28 PM EST

It's a reason I am firmly in favor of trade not aid. We should spend more time and effort in reducing market and production barriers than on finding new ways to hand out money. Sure there are exceptions, but as a general rule, I think trade is vastly suprior to aid.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
GM food marking (4.33 / 3) (#112)
by Toshio on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:37:58 AM EST

Oh, and the GM issue? Consumer choice. Stick a big label on it so I can avoid it, the other effects will follow.

I would like it the other way around. Stick the label that it is not GM, and I will follow... I sure like to see people proving that they are GM-free, instead of people conviniently forgetting that they are not.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
That happens naturally (4.25 / 4) (#137)
by djotto on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:13:42 AM EST

nobody bothers to grow organic tomatoes then forgets to label them as such.

It's the potentially-harmful labels that have to be forced onto manufacturers.

[ Parent ]

Labeling upside down (4.33 / 3) (#194)
by Toshio on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:25:22 PM EST

nobody bothers to grow organic tomatoes then forgets to label them as such.

My claim was that corporations conviniently forget to label non GM-free food, not the other way around.

It's the potentially-harmful labels that have to be forced onto manufacturers.

I agree, but... Enforcements have always had an unfortunate side effect of somebody avoiding them. Espiecialy multinational corporations that are almost immune to any particular country law enfocement. What I have in my mind is common, regulated, possibly multinational, GM-free label programme that is considered the honor to be part of, then see those that care to flock in, and forget about the rest (I sure would). Because those who care, care to be recognized as caring. Those who don't care, simply don't care. Mind you, GM-free is not automaticaly bio-, so I don't equate the two.

Funny thing that almost half of the soya that is on sale today is GM, so it is ever harder to have a healthy, vegetarian, AND GM-free diet.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
A fairly relevant bit (however US centric) (5.00 / 3) (#284)
by andamac on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:49:42 PM EST


From a rather cumbersome article:
-------
IV. Voluntary Labeling Guidance

While admitting that the public comments it has received overwhelmingly support labeling, FDA reasserts that it will not require the mandatory labeling of GE foods. In concert with that decision, FDA has release non-binding guidance on how labeling should take place for producers who want to voluntarily label their products. The guidance document suggests that FDA will attempt to severely limit the type of voluntary labels claiming that products avoid using GE foods. (See attached memo "Why Voluntary Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Won't Help Consumers"). In particular, the FDA makes the following assertions:

-Use of the terms "GMO free" and "GM free" will be misleading in most foods;

-Use of the term "free" in claim of absence of genetically engineered material will be misleading because consumers will assume an absolute zero level of GE contamination, and food producers cannot test to meet such assurances level and a threshold level defining "free" has not been established; and

-Any statement about not being genetically engineered implying that the labeled food is superior to foods not so labeled would be misleading.

It should be noted that in the case of genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) small dairies were sued by Monsanto for rBGH-free labels because such products asserted superiority over dairy products derived for rBGH treated cows and impugned the safety of Monsanto's product. While the guidance is non-binding legally, the last bullet point appears to set up a scenario similar to rBGH for non-GE food voluntary labeling.
-------

[ Parent ]
Quite relevant, but... (5.00 / 1) (#387)
by Toshio on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:51:13 PM EST

If your excpert was USA-centric, then this will probably be EU-centric, but I think answers still carry some weight. Following are my assertions to the each of the FDA assertions.

Use of the terms "GMO free" and "GM free" will be misleading in most foods;

If there is independent (from the producer) authority that has a public statement of clear and verifiable requirements that need to be met for allowing to print copyrighted label establishing that the product is "GM-free", then there is no danger of misleading. Requirements can be as simple as:

  • Organisms themselves were not created using bitechnological processes
  • Organisms were not treated using biotechnological processes
  • Organisms were not fed or nutritioned with products that themselves don't conform to these guidelines
I belive that the moment you remove ambiguity around what the label means, is the moment one can not call such label to be misleading. The label itself is copyrighted, so it can not be legaly used to mark products that NGO hasn't recognized as conforming. As the process involves product and process chekings, the applicants should pay a fee that is representative of the costs involved in the verification.

-Use of the term "free" in claim of absence of genetically engineered material will be misleading because consumers will assume an absolute zero level of GE contamination, and food producers cannot test to meet such assurances level and a threshold level defining "free" has not been established; and

The whole point of excersise is to establish an authority clearly defining what the label means (as written under previous assertion). That achieved the assertion simply becomes meaningless.

-Any statement about not being genetically engineered implying that the labeled food is superior to foods not so labeled would be misleading.

This is to be left to courts to decide. LAbel by itself only means that food conforms to certain standards, but it can and does not imply anything about any food that wasn't proposed for certification. If any prodcer happens to engage in commercial activity asserting that other foods are less safe (negative commercials) it is their own perogative and responsibility to answer such charges. Label by itself asserts nothing about the foods that were not proposed for certification. If this can't be legaly seen in this way, then I think the legal system needs amending.

It should be noted that in the case of genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) small dairies were sued by Monsanto for rBGH-free labels because such products asserted superiority over dairy products derived for rBGH treated cows and impugned the safety of Monsanto's product.

I do not know any particular details about the case or its results, but in general I can say that if they explicitly said that Monsantos products were unsafe then they are guilty, if not, then Monsanto is simply trying to kill the competition using vastly larger legal department. This would be like Ford suing Volvo for putting impact sidebars in their cars thus alleging that Ford cars are inherently unsafer.

The response is USA-centric as the specifical situation is that FDA only defines guidelines that must be adhered to, but in this case it clearly wants to avoid defining any particular guidelines whatsoever by defining bogus (IMHO) guidelines. While this might be way of doing things in USA, I sure hope this is not and will not be way of doing things in EU. Having NGO defining rules and financing from selling the rights for labeling can be a breeding place for corruption and extortion, but I tend to think that this could also be grassroots operation that grows form the informed customer base gaining reputation by performing public, transparent, and strict inspections on the sites, so public would grow to trust their assesment. Not unlike the organical-food and bio-food markings that are present in EU at this time, one can fathom GM-free labels, that are also governed by strong consumer associations providing independent and consistent labeling for particular subclass of produce.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
Point taken, but (5.00 / 2) (#388)
by frankwork on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 02:27:10 PM EST

This would be like Ford suing Volvo for putting impact sidebars in their cars thus alleging that Ford cars are inherently unsafer.
uhh, Ford owns Volvo, at least the passenger car division.

[ Parent ]
Touche! (5.00 / 1) (#395)
by Toshio on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:48:18 PM EST

uhh, Ford owns Volvo, at least the passenger car division.

Was that a direct hit or what :) You're probably right... With all this auto company mergers in last decade the analogy is completely flawed, but I hope you won't hold this against me (for too much). I tried time and again to stop using analogies and metaphores, but they are just too damn convinient.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
Yes, so? (5.00 / 2) (#195)
by Bartab on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:39:32 PM EST

Europe does the same, really. In the end, these aid-receiving nations should view this as the gift this is. "Local farmers" cannot make any real money for these countries since the big buyers (US and EU) are not really into buying yet more base foodstuffs from these countries. So "local farmers" are restricted to supplying food to the local markets only. When these farmers turn to "cash crops" as you say, they are not dependant on aid, they are able to import these foods (at extremely low prices, thanks to the EU and US subsidies killing world market prices) and continue with their cash crops (or whatever new career these farmers undertook)

It makes them, and by extension their country, dependant on trade not aid. This is normal for the world today. Everybody is dependant on trade.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

Ptang ptang neewoo (4.00 / 3) (#25)
by spasticfraggle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:55:57 AM EST

I don't understand. You think that europeans should stop producing food if they can't do it efficiently? But then they shouldn't import efficiently produced food from the states? What will they eat?

Perhaps another point not to be dismissed is that no sane governing body (or whatever the EU should be called) is going to destroy domestic food production in favour of importing it from the states. What's going to happen the next time there's a trade dispute over steel or something? Might there be a suggestion that food supplies might be delayed, or perhaps more expensive (but not by an extra "tax", goodness no!)?

The EU has a responsability to keep a substantial proportion of food production domestic in order not to be put over a barrel next time our friends request a favour.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

Heh (3.66 / 3) (#27)
by debacle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:59:22 AM EST

I meant that, on a quantity basis the EU cannot compete.

But, for intelligent people, quality is important. Especially in produce.

The Europeans should continue to grow food, but market it as organic and fresh and this and that.

The EU is only hurting themselves in the long run.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

No you don't (4.60 / 5) (#20)
by spasticfraggle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:47:46 AM EST

Or you have to prop them up when technology advances

With something, like, oh, what should we call it? A protectionist subsidy perhaps?

Also, just to save those few farmers you have everybody pay higher prices and that money could be used for other things. It really doesn't help anybody out in the long run.

As I tried to say in my previous post, it isn't just a few farmers at stake. Apart from the fact that farmers are in some sense "unoffical gardians of the landscape" - as martingale pointed out, the knock effects to other industries are not insignificant.

Your point about GE plants is mindboggling. Almost nobody in europe wants GE crops. If you farm GE crops here you have to export them, and then import non-GE versions to eat. What's the point?

You are just scared of change. We do fine over here

No need to get personal. I am scared of seeing something beautiful destroyed, and to see people suffering, all for an ideology that few people here hold especially dear.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

GM foods (4.00 / 3) (#193)
by Bartab on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:23:36 PM EST

Almost nobody in europe wants GE crops.

I doubt most people care, really. The fact is that if it was available on the shelves (at market prices) even clearly labeled (as something like "Genetically Modified" not something false like "Guaranteed to kill your children and mutate your cat") then people would buy it. At first, the poorest, then it would slowly work its way up the economy.

The problem is of course that euro gov'ts do not allow it to be sold on the store shelves. In Fr ance and Austria there is a strict moratorium on such sales. Meanwhile, something like 70% of the product on the store shelves in the US are GM products.

In the end, I'll be richer. I spend less money (nevermind the higher income) on food and thus have more to spare for other things.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

Polls prove you wrong (5.00 / 1) (#316)
by spasticfraggle on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:40:17 AM EST

I doubt most people care, really.

"The latest polls show only 14% of people in Britain approve of GM food. "(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3038893.stm)

"Richard Ali, director of food policy at the British Retail Consortium, said: "Our position remains unchanged. We are neutral on GM technology. But we provide what customers demand and they do not want GM food." "(http://www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,2763,998997,00.html)

etc, etc, etc.

True, some people don't care. However, enough people do care that any possible ability to profit from using cheaper GM ingredients is offset by losing customers.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

14% is a HUGE market. (5.00 / 1) (#318)
by Bartab on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:58:20 AM EST

I doubt "health food" has a 14% market share, and people actively seek that out. GM foods will just eliminate those who care enough to avoid, which is going to be less than the people who say they will avoid it in a poll.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

rolls eyes (5.00 / 2) (#347)
by spasticfraggle on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:02:41 AM EST

I doubt "health food" has a 14% market share, and people actively seek that out.

Yes, people that actually want to eat health food will seek it out. However, 14% of consumers will NOT seek out GM foods, because those people dont want to eat GM food, they just don't care one way or the other. OTOH a large majority of people will actively NOT BUY GM foods, thus removing most of the profit in creating them. Sheesh.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

As expected, you missed the point. (3.00 / 2) (#477)
by Bartab on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:05:04 PM EST

Health Food is a smaller market than GM Acceptable market. Therefore, the belief that there is not a lartge enough market for GM food is false.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

Rolls eyes one final time... (5.00 / 2) (#487)
by spasticfraggle on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 05:59:35 AM EST

There are a reasonable number of people who will go out of their way, pay more, travel further, invest time and effort in order to buy Health Food.

The number of people who will do that in order to buy GM food instead non-GM food is zero.

I give up. HAND.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]

So? (3.50 / 2) (#495)
by Bartab on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:06:30 PM EST

GM food is cheaper, why would anybody pay more? That's inane.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

I think his point is this: (5.00 / 2) (#507)
by Bjorniac on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:08:37 PM EST

Health food has a small market share. However, people actively buy health food, meaning that the 8% or so of people who want health food will only buy health food. GM food, however, has no real draw for people - just 14% of people would be happy if GM food were substituted for non-GM, but those 14% wouldn't actively look for GM food, 86% would actively look for non-GM food. The 14% may not care if the food they buy is GM or not, and hence would end up buying a lot of non GM food, thus 14% is not their market share. I doubt even 0.1% of the population would be mad if their steak at a restaurant turned out to be a healthy steak, grown organically. Maybe only 8% would actively want it, but 99% wouldn't complain. With GM food, 86% would complain if it were a GM steak.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
So when exactly (3.50 / 4) (#49)
by godix on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 03:25:46 PM EST

did the EU put 'guarantee you keep your job even if it's no longer needed and technology has made it obsolete' in it's constitution? It's no wonder the entire EU is still a smaller economy than the US, I'm just impressed that it manages to beat out African countries with this attitude.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
[ Parent ]
Actually (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by iasius on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:23:00 PM EST

the EU put "a single country can stop our entire system from being reformed" in its treaties, there is no constitution, yet.
Actually there are a couple of countries that benefit greatly from the subsidies or are at least very opposed to them being dismantled. So the other countries can't really do anything because many important decisions have to be unanimous veen today.
Think about how well the US would work if two senators could block a new bill from passing. It's kind of amazing that laws do get passed.


the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
Read the EU Constitution (5.00 / 1) (#358)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:17:24 AM EST

It's about 300 pages long, and that clause is probably in there somewhere.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Nobody reads the EU constitution! (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#464)
by djotto on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:58:24 PM EST

On reflection, that pun may not go over to well in plain text. Our chief weapons are surprise, etc etc etc.

[ Parent ]
What's wrong with that? (5.00 / 2) (#227)
by holdfast on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:21:34 PM EST

What's the point of making citizens pay more for "home grown" stuff?

Oh, that's right, to piss the US off!


It's not most of the people of the USA that manages to get up the noses of so many of the rest of the world.You have no effect on me and I have no effect on you.

I am quite happy to let GWB and friends know that I don't like them. Not that they care...


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
Cheaper? (5.00 / 1) (#416)
by LilDebbie on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:29:27 PM EST

Is that why the US Agricultural Industry is so heavily subsidized? I'm afraid we don't make it cheaper. We may be the most efficient producers, but our farmers demand too high a standard of living, and that puts costs in - not to mention USDA regulations, etc. Africa, actually, is considered the cheapest producer of cereals the world over, mainly because the farmers there are willing to work for a much lower standard of living than farmers in first world countries. Oddly enough, people like Kofi Annan and many, many economists believe that one of the best ways to reduce world poverty is to end agricultural subsidies in the first world, thereby allowing third world countries to compete on a level playing field. Of course, I must agree that EUROPE bitching about this is a load of horseshit. But then again, they have some of the most protectionist policies in the world when it comes to their farmers, because unlike their US counterparts, EU farmers are LESS efficient than even some low-tech African farms because they refuse to use modern technology they could easily afford. Anyway, this rant has gone on long enough. Thank you for your time.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Label the article correctly. (1.85 / 7) (#2)
by Akshay on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:51:02 AM EST

(nt)

How so? (5.00 / 2) (#5)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:01:39 AM EST

Is it the mispelling (I am about to correct), a poor title (admittedly -- I'll probably change it before it gets out of edit), or poorly sectioned?
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
Pointless now, of course, (5.00 / 1) (#288)
by Akshay on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:08:56 AM EST

but t'was the spelling.

[ Parent ]
No matter (2.04 / 21) (#7)
by helenk on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:12:47 AM EST

how used to European arrogance and hypocrisy I get, they still manage to surprise me :/ ...

If this gets agreed on at the WTO, America should just ignore it. And if they want to get into a trade war, we can fight back and demand an end to these ridiculous farm subsidies (the highest in the world, along with japan, I have read).

Or we could just put "freedom" on all our products, like "Freedom Parmiggiano Reggiano". Personnally, I'd buy that before i'd buy the inferior european product.

---
Do your bit to save the Ground Zero Cross and sign the petition

Practice what you preach (4.00 / 6) (#33)
by marx on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:57:13 AM EST

The USA is refusing to reduce its own farming subsidies, which are also massive:
Among the targeted subsidies is the 10-year, $171 billion package extended to U.S. growers in 2002.
- San Antonio Express

Why do you want others to remove their subsidies, but don't want to remove your own? Is blatant hypocrisy a requisite for being a conservative patriotic American?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Re: (3.66 / 3) (#43)
by vivelame on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 01:45:16 PM EST

Why do you want others to remove their subsidies, but don't want to remove your own? Is blatant hypocrisy a requisite for being a conservative patriotic American?

Why, of course yes, why do you have do ask??

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Wrong. (5.00 / 2) (#191)
by Bartab on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:09:41 PM EST

In Mexico, the US has offered to eliminate farmer subsidies entirely. On one condition: Europe do the same.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

more (4.33 / 3) (#218)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:47:22 PM EST

Along with that, the US promised to remove most cotton subsidies and tariffs that hurt African farmers the most and to reduced total farm subsidies by 3/5ths if the EU opened their markets.

France's response was to try to call Cancun another "development round" like Doha and to attempt to remove EU farm subsidies from the itinerairy.

The EU refuses to budge for some reason. The Guardian and The Economist have tore into the EU and EC a number of times over ag policy.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

Whole of the UK (4.83 / 6) (#246)
by djotto on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:04:48 PM EST

tears into the CAP on a regular basis. It's not just a left- or right-wing thing... more of a national sport. Agricultural reform isn't a new issue within the EU - I think a majority of UKians have supported it for as long as I can remember.

We're net contributors to the system (second to Germany, who throw double what we do into the pot) and we don't like it much, but every time reform is threatened every motorway in France is bought to a halt by tractors. You can get an idea from that graph what would happen to the career of a French politician who tried to abandon the CAP.



[ Parent ]
Consider it (4.66 / 6) (#80)
by djotto on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:10:21 PM EST

a truth-in-advertising thing. Ask yourself how more accurate labelling could possibly be bad for the consumer. You can avoid EU-made goods, I can avoid fake parma ham.

[Recent examples of US protectionism: supporting bankrupt airlines, steel import tarrifs, the 2002 US Farm Bill.

In short: we all suck. For example, the EU's subsidy framework is 50 years out of date. It was implemented post-WWII to make sure European countries were self-sufficient in food and wouldn't starve to death in the event of another protracted ground war.]


[ Parent ]

well... (5.00 / 1) (#300)
by Remfin on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:46:08 AM EST

All US products (that I know of) that could ever end up outside the country, have the City/State/Country origin printed on them.  Which basically means all US products have it on them as a rule.  Or at least on the shipping containers if it's something that can't support that (cars/etc).  If you want to avoid scummy US products, you can quite easily do that, unless something illegal is going on or your local grocery is pulling a fast one on you.  All products coming in also have to have this.  Basically, the problem is already solved in the US, so it's hard to garner sympathy for something like Parma Ham, which doesn't at all require a geographical location to make it "good".

Wines I can believe it for however, and I believe things like "Champagne" are protected in the US already

[ Parent ]

Regarding farm subsidies (5.00 / 2) (#174)
by HidingMyName on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:11:16 PM EST

I had a Japanese room mate in grad school, and he thought the farm subisidies in Japan were extremely high, however, he also mentioned that near the end of World War II, Japan didn't have enough rice to feed its people. In Japan eating rice is a daily event, I've heard that one of the strongest punishments is that imprisoned criminals do not get to eat rice. Perhaps some Japanese readers can confirm or refute this. Given the Japaneseneed for rice, I think that although the current subisdy system may not be entirely fair, I can understand why Japan spends money to make sure that they never again run out of rice.

[ Parent ]
Really? (3.00 / 4) (#220)
by Sanction on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:48:49 PM EST

There is a food product made in the US that is superior to the European variety?  Please, you have to tell me what it is, anything that rare would have to be worth money someday :)

I can either stay in and be annoying or go out and be stupid. The choice is yours.
[ Parent ]
Yes (5.00 / 1) (#374)
by Jack McCoy on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:58:22 AM EST

There is a food product made in the US that is superior to the European variety?

Yes. The greatest food on Earth: Tex-Mex.

You EU morons can argue about your stiltons and champagnes till you drop dead from cirrhosis and heart failure.  Just get me some damn fajitas.

Can't get that in Europe, can you?

And please note that Tex-Mex is rather distinctive from food found in Mexico proper (hence the Tex- prefix).

-- Jack
[ Parent ]

So close, yet so far. (3.66 / 3) (#450)
by Sanction on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:25:54 PM EST

While Tex-Mex may be the only unique cuisine to emerge from the US (and while not the best in the world, definately in the top 5, the food in Texas was superb!), it is not a food item.  Were it prepared with superior ingredients, it could probably be even better.  My point is the complete lack of ultra high quality regional specialties in the US, leaving most of the country unable to understand the importance of these issues to the rest of the world.

I can either stay in and be annoying or go out and be stupid. The choice is yours.
[ Parent ]
Cajun. Creole. (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#463)
by djotto on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:56:19 PM EST

Spend two weeks in Louisiana and tell me there's no great tradition of American cooking.

[ Parent ]
You said no text! (more regional US food) (5.00 / 1) (#481)
by jjayson on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:25:53 PM EST

Before submitting this story, my roommate and I were in the kitchen scrounging for dinner. We managed to name over 50 US regional foods -- from classes of food like California fusion and cajun/bayoo to individual items like San Francisco sourdough and NY bagels -- and there were plenty we know we missed.

The US isn't the cultural and food wasteland that many think it is.
_______
Smile =)
Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by mo
[ Parent ]

Man, how did I miss that one? (5.00 / 1) (#498)
by Sanction on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:11:45 PM EST

I even spent a week in New Orleans at a conference.  I still like the food in Texas better though.  I'm not sure if I'd count fusion...that is less a cuisine and more a method of generating new cuisines.  I guess we miss out on a lot of good food items on the west coast (minus Cali, it is a land of its own), the most regional I could name here is Rocky Mountain Oysters ;)

In any case, taking into account the older colonies on the east coast, I guess we do have a few regional lines going.  If anyone would be so kind as to send me a decent bowl of gumbo, I'll happily eat some of my words with it :)

I can either stay in and be annoying or go out and be stupid. The choice is yours.
[ Parent ]

Well now, isn't that funny (5.00 / 1) (#317)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:45:51 AM EST

That's exactly what the Europeans say about Americans.

Might I just point out that I, also, love American hypocrisy. Every time I hear an American whinging about high tarifs and subsidised farm products I think about our Australian farmers who must compete against the U.S.

Free trade indeed.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

I'll see your GI and raise you a trademark (4.05 / 18) (#9)
by martingale on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:29:02 AM EST

I agree with you, regional trademarks are silly. I recently had this problem with my new startup, Microsoft Europe Pamplona, which produces Microsoft Europe Pamplona Office, a fork of Open Office with a Bull icon on the splash screen.

It's a cool program, but I got sued. Apparently, Microsoft doesn't like the competition. They claim it confuses potential buyers, and attacked me on some frivolous trademark claim. Like Microsoft are the only ones who can make the real Microsoft Office or something. I pointed out to them that Microsoft Europe Pamplona Office offers substantially the same functionality, even going so far as using the native WIN32 API, just like Microsoft Office does. Really, if you think about it, the end user gets substantially the same quality product, only with a bull icon on the splash screen. And it's made by Microsoft Europe Pamplona.

But it only made them mad. They said that Microsoft is a Washington, USA, company with subsidiaries in Europe, one of them even called Microsoft Europe, funnily enough. I told them they could sell their Office product (really not a lot better than Microsoft Europe Pamplona Office, just older) in Washington, and even export it around the world. It's not like it makes a difference who makes the Office app, or where it's made. Most customers don't see the difference, except for a few purists. What's the Redmond campus got that my startup hasn't got?

Anyway, I got to get back to filling out those forms for the hearing. Damn Microsoft Lawyers (like, does that mean they're the only ones who can make lawyers, too?) If they get me, I guess I'll relocate to Washington state, maybe Redmond. I'll rename my company to Microsoft Europe Pamplona Of Redmond, Washington. Then they can't get me on geographic grounds. Maybe I'll change the icon to a Red Bull on a silver/blue background.

That is all solved (3.33 / 3) (#11)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:32:51 AM EST

The trademark system already fixes that, and the "parmigiano reggiano" shows that. Extending it to translations and not allowed to have "Parmesan-like" is way beyond the bounds. Use the trademark system and things will be fine.

Maybe the countries should have brought it up a long time ago. They've had a hundred years to do it.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

clearly not entirely (4.60 / 5) (#12)
by martingale on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:58:28 AM EST

Or else we wouldn't have the endless discussions on Champagne either.

What I think is particularly interesting is what to do about translations. Take "parmigiano reggiano". How is it marketed in Russia? Clearly, the name has to be transliterated into cyrillic. But what if some other company has done so already? Unsolved problem. Now, "Parmesan-like" is a translation too. Who owns it?

These are globalisation issues, but it's not surprising that the EU raises them first. How do you deal with translations of "Champagne" (French) into German ("Champagner")? Who owns it? In France, for a long time now, only the Champagne region is allowed to make true bubbly. It's called "apellation contrôlée" and is a mark of quality. But open borders in the EU are a fact. Rules must be agreed.

These issues are clearly new, and must be increasingly addressed by some extended, universally agreed form of trademark. I don't think "Parmesan-like" is clearly out of the scope of WIPO.

[ Parent ]

Cheddar Cheese... (4.07 / 13) (#15)
by pwhysall on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:18:56 AM EST

...isn't just a type of cheese; it's specifically cheese from a place called Cheddar. There's nothing stopping anyone else making "Cheddar-style Cheese", but claiming it as the real thing is out of the question. Can't see a problem there.

Still, I prefer Caerphilly or Wensleydale to the bland 'orribleness that is cheddar.

And let's not forget the ultimate in cheese protectionism, Stilton, made in only six dairies in the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Bow down. You're not worthy. Hail to Stilton!

--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown

chedder makes everything beddar (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by Jack McCoy on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:43:32 AM EST

isn't just a type of cheese; it's specifically cheese from a place called Cheddar.

I have a hard time beleiving that when people ask for cheddar cheese, they have the intent of purchasing only cheese made in Cheddar.  Most people outside England are probably not aware such a place exists.  When people want cheddar cheese, they probably don't care where it came from.

Maybe it's just me, but I kind of find re-naming all our cheeses to fit some euro-ideal of regional farming a bit inane.
-- Jack
[ Parent ]

American cheddar cheese (3.50 / 4) (#28)
by mami on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:59:34 AM EST

makes everything "fadder". Check your spelling.

[ Parent ]
Not a typo (5.00 / 2) (#113)
by Lai Lai Boy on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:40:07 AM EST

While his spelling is hard to look at, he was trying to emulate a long running (and rather annoying) series of American commercials.

[Posted from Mozilla Firebird]
[ Parent ]

well I didn't know that, but (5.00 / 1) (#471)
by mami on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:00:00 PM EST

mine is a spelling "error" on purpose and was supposed to be a word play with "fat, fatter, most fat or fattest". Sigh, I am fed up with all this fat stuff now.

[ Parent ]
Beleive it (5.00 / 1) (#494)
by thewookie on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:47:00 AM EST

When I buy cheddar cheese I do indeed expect it to come from Cheddar, when I buy Parma ham I expect it to come from Parma - why is that hard to beleive? I find a distinction very useful in some everyday cases; If I buy Brie de Meaux I expect it to come from a particular place, but if a fancy a slightly different cheese I might go for a 'Somerset Brie' instead - the tastes (and origins) are miles apart but the regulations allow the two to co-exist.

Seems to me you're trying to protect ignorance. Just because a product has been misconstrued for a long time doesn't mean that it's fine to perpetuate the situation when the whole mess can be cleared up with a simple bit of packaging re-printing.

Why should I be forced to change my expectations because joe average has come to some missunderstanding about what a product is.

[ Parent ]
From the article: (4.50 / 4) (#34)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:58:45 AM EST

Parmesan would be off-limits, as would Parmesan-like or Wisconsin Parmesan.

So, presumably, "Cheddar-style" would be off-limits, too.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
No - twat. (4.50 / 4) (#58)
by Big Dogs Cock on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 06:27:37 PM EST

You make make and "Champagne style" sparkling wine to your heart's content. You can even say on the bottle that you are using the Champagne method. What you cannot do is claim that it is "Champagne" if it is not made in that particular region of France. On top of this, there is the ISO9000 Appellation Controllee system which ensures that when you buy a regionally named wine (or whatever) you know exactly what you're getting.

People say that anal sex is unhealthy. Well it cured my hiccups.
[ Parent ]
I make make? (4.00 / 2) (#60)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:08:56 PM EST

I'm just reporting what the original poster said. If you don't like it, take it up with him.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
No, the ultimate in cheese protectionism (3.50 / 4) (#46)
by McBain on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:56:42 PM EST

are the elite K5 editors, a position not open to competition from outsiders. New ones are chosen in secret when an editor dies and the term is lifelong. Little is known about this strange group...

I'm going to bring this up at the WTO.

---
Sorry. I can't seem to find that sig.
[ Parent ]

What are you saying? (5.00 / 1) (#315)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:40:04 AM EST

That if I make a new editor I can't call it a "pwhysall"?

Just another example of how trademarks are taking away our freedom.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Ultimate Cheese Protectionism (5.00 / 1) (#484)
by TaoJones on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:02:57 AM EST

...would be a great name for a band. Apologies to Dave Barry...

[ Parent ]
oh yes, Stilton rules. Especially with meat. [nt] (3.66 / 3) (#104)
by vyruss on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:33:30 AM EST



  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
Try it with chocolate (5.00 / 2) (#172)
by squigly on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:06:51 PM EST

Seriously.  The mixture of tastes is bizarre, but they do go well together.

[ Parent ]
will do, next time I'm in the UK :D [nt] (5.00 / 2) (#222)
by vyruss on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:54:39 PM EST



  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
"Bland 'orribleness'" (4.00 / 2) (#150)
by spammacus on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:58:20 AM EST

Those who call cheddar bland have obviously never had the good stuff.  I like wensleydale and caerphilly very much also, but few things beat a quality, 3-year-old block of prime cheddar.

Interesting side note: most of the best cheddar in fact comes from Canada.  Unfortunately for unknown reasons we export it all so actually getting your hands on it here is a bit of a chore. I blame the Kraft propensity for buying up all the crap quality cheese, melting it down, dying it orange, and selling it to the Joe canuck who doesn't know any better.  I usually have to leave the country to get good Canadian cheddar, which is ridiculous.
-- "Asshole, deconstruct thyself." - Mr. Surly
[ Parent ]

Good Cheddar (4.75 / 4) (#155)
by gidds on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:33:29 PM EST

Those who call cheddar bland have obviously never had the good stuff.

Absolutely. I tried some American 'Cheddar' on a visit last year, and even their 'strong' stuff rates a 'mild' at best. And as for the tasteless plastic that was Monterey Jack...

Good Cheddar tastes. It has character. It has a smell, a flavour, a presence -- it's for enjoying, not just for keeping toasties moist or conducting heat between burger and bun. In fact, you can't get slices of really good Cheddar, because it's too crumbly. But even a few crumbs make for greater pleasure eating than whole slices of the bland stuff.

Personally, I'd be happy to call it Cheddar regardless of where it came from, but I'm not happy to have bland, processed, characterless goo use the same name -- and if the only way to stop that is an avalanche of '-style' labels, then so be it...

Andy/
[ Parent ]

You can find that (4.50 / 2) (#355)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:09:18 AM EST

You can get good Cheddar that's made in the US. Wisconsin produces some damed fine stuff. I've had the pleasure of tasting good 7 year cheddar a few times. It's very sharp, and quite tasty. Like you say, it's very crumbly. I've also tried 12 and 15 year aged cheddar, which I didn't much care for. The 12 year cheddar was too sharp for my taste, and the 15 year cheddar's taste was reminiscent of bile. It sure wasn't mild or bland, though.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

Fine (3.20 / 5) (#17)
by Jack McCoy on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:33:12 AM EST

I'll support this, as long as you 'peans don't try to pass off your phony processed cheese food product as American Cheese.
-- Jack
Absolutely (5.00 / 3) (#185)
by Bjorniac on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:50:11 PM EST

Call things what they are, that's all we want. If you want to call it American Style cheese, fine, but American cheese should be American!
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
Just call it "Freedom Cheese" (3.85 / 20) (#18)
by Psycho Dave on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:36:07 AM EST

Screw those European wankers. Freedom Cheese, Liberty Sparkling Wine, Bush Beer, and Condoleeza Rice.

And refuse to let those "old Europe" bastards use the name American Cheese unless it's from America!

(...oh wait, Europeans don't eat shitty American cheese...)

(...oh, and we need their help to occupy Iraq now...)

Er, nevermind the above my European brothers. EU uber alles!

I'll go through (3.57 / 7) (#22)
by debacle on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:51:41 AM EST

And give every comment you have a 5 if you change your sig.

It's friggin hideous.

It tastes sweet.
[ Parent ]

No, call it "Cheesy Freedom" (nt) (2.50 / 4) (#26)
by mami on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:56:45 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Eh (4.50 / 6) (#52)
by Betcour on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 04:38:13 PM EST

Who wants a small brick of cheese pried at something like $30?

Someone who cares enough about the taste of his cheese to spend $30 on it ?

[ Parent ]

Disagree (3.75 / 4) (#56)
by Betcour on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:36:19 PM EST

Frankly cheese isn't worth that much money.

I know plenty of cheese that I would pay $30 to eat (although they are a lot cheeper). I guess it all depends how much you like (good) cheese. If you are not into cheese I guess $30 can be indeed considered overkill.

[ Parent ]

It's SUBJECTIVE, full-stop. (3.50 / 2) (#146)
by lens flare on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:13:47 AM EST

People spend lots on art, cars, etc. that others wouldn't.

[ Parent ]
Food Substitute (5.00 / 1) (#271)
by felixrayman on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:36:49 PM EST

I personally like my reasonably priced cheese. Who wants a small brick of cheese pried at something like $30?

Then of course you won't be affected one bit by the proposed trade rules since you will buy the block of 'cheese' marked "Imitation Processed Cheese Style Food Substitute". Not a problem.

Whatever. Frankly I don't see how stupid Iraqi fucks can seemingly take advantage of people like this. How hard is it to take say a few guys who do a simple patrol. The first guy can dink around and give covering fire, then the other guy can you know watch his back.

Most of the US troop deaths now are from improvised bombs on roads, not snipers.

Of course we could just do the nazi thing and have reprisal killings.

Yes, if the US army wanted to act as recruiters for the Iraqi guerillas that would be a splendid tactic.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Not a problem (2.80 / 15) (#36)
by epepke on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:23:19 AM EST

Let's just say, then, that Europeans can't produce any more New World products.

That would include potatoes (all varieties), tomatoes, maize, chili peppers (all varieties, including capsicums), squash (vegetable marrows, for y'all in the UK), vanilla, peanuts, cashews, most beans and legumes (pulses, for y'all in the UK), avocados, wild rice, tapioca, turkey, allspice, cocoa.

Seriously. Europe embarked on a massive world-exploration project, lasting for hundreds of years, consuming more resources per capita by far than the Space Program, simply because native European food sucked.

Go back to wheat, animal products, and boiled turnips for a while and see how much you like it.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


Will you please stop speaking English (5.00 / 5) (#231)
by omrib on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:26:58 PM EST

That language is branded. Please revert to the local unwritten dialect of Native Americanish.

Thank you.


[ Parent ]

Seems you've got the wrong end of the stick... (5.00 / 2) (#493)
by thewookie on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:24:47 AM EST

No-one is suggesting the US can't produce these things, you just can't name, label or market them as what they are not. If you make cheese and you ain't in Cheddar, you ain't making Cheddar cheese, but you can still make the cheese and call it something else.

[ Parent ]
It's not protectionism, fuckhead (2.85 / 14) (#38)
by nictamer on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 12:04:46 PM EST

But then, to understand this you'd have to know that, while two Cabernet Sauvignon from California and Australia taste the same, you can get two wines, say Burgundy,    from the same vintage, same cépage, and it taste wildly differently when the vineyards it comes from were a few hundred meters apart.

It's called "terroire", and there's nothing magic about it, really; it's just that you can't really experience and expect subtlety when you mass produce and pool something in 10 tonnes batches. And vice-versa.
--
Religion is for sheep.

It's not Cabernet Sauvignon, fuckhead (4.00 / 2) (#61)
by baron samedi on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 07:27:37 PM EST

Wine from Burgundy, and all other French appellations is not usually 100% Cabernet Sauvignon or 100% of any given varietal, but rather a blend of several different grapes, among which Cabernet Sauvignon is one. There is also Cinsault, Carignane, Cabernet Franc, and the list goes on.

So yeah, it's not going to taste like a Cabernet Sauvignon from California or Australia, and the next vinyard down the road in Burgundy might use a different combination of grapes for their Burgundy. Additionally, often times the same vintners will use different combinations in different years!


"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

French wine (5.00 / 1) (#393)
by Miniluv on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:22:45 PM EST

Actually, depending on the appellation, you can often tell the exact mix of wines in it. The French are one of the only countries on the planet that are that rigorous about apellation control.

As a bit of a wine snob, I can understand their desire to protect the meaning of a name such as Beaujolais-Villages to mean a specific set of wine growing villages in a specific region of France.

As far as wine goes, there are definitely some compromises that could be reached which would avoid having to try and re-educate some emerging wine markets (such as the average American) at such a critical stage in their buying emergence. One would be to get the US, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, etc to sign on to an agreement regulating the blends allowable for certain names. If the bottle says its Cabernet then it better be blended the same whether its from Chile or France or Sonoma.

In fact, a perfect example would be Champagne. People have been fighting over this for years and years already. They grow and blend sparkling white in California, and market it as Champagne, even using the subnames of Brut, Extra Brut, etc. despite the fact that Champagne is a fairly specific blend, grown in one small region of France. The Brut, Extra Brut, etc all refer to specific sugar levels within the wine, all of which is tightly controlled by the French government. The result? French champagnes have a hard time competing in the lower price realms because American consumers don't understand the difference, and can't justify paying more and thus never experience the taste and mouthfeel differences.

In some instances its even damaged the marketability of certain types of wine, and probably cheese and other goods, when shitty world wide manufacturers get a free ride on the coattails of a geographically named product.

I must agree with the article that broad, sweeping GI restrictions just isn't workable, however some sort of compromise is good, especially one that lends most of its protective weight to the consumer, not the manufacturer. Giving people a clear idea of what to expect when they buy Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Champagne versus when they buy Vin Blanc or Vin Rouge is a Good Thing.

"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown
[ Parent ]

A differing view... (5.00 / 2) (#412)
by baron samedi on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:14:31 PM EST

If the bottle says its Cabernet then it better be blended the same whether its from Chile or France or Sonoma.

I hope not. Part of what goes in to a bottle of wine is the subtle blending of different grapes. It is very common to see a Cabernet that's 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, or some other varietal like Merlot or Cinsault, yet the label still says Cabernet Sauvignon. It's up to the vinter to blend wines to achieve the taste their striving for. So I that sense, I'd rather not see a slavish devotion to consistency. You know what I mean?

With respect to champagne, it's true that it can only be called 'Champagne' if it's from Champagne. There is hardly one way of making champagne. There isn't just sugar involved, there's grapes. Most champagne makers make a blanc-de-blancs and and blanc-de-noirs, and those are made from different grapes.

There's an informal appellation system beginning to emerge in California as well. For instance, you can't claim your wine is from the Silverado appellation unless your grapes come from there.


"Hands that help are better by far than lips that pray."- Robert G. Ingersoll
[ Parent ]

Understanding why this is (3.90 / 11) (#44)
by 8ctavIan on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:07:09 PM EST

If you lived in a region in Europe that produced a specific product and that product was associated with the region and its people, you would understand this.

The region where I live in Spain is famous for its wine. This wine has certain characteristics not just because of the variety of the grape, but because of other factors like the soil and the climate. If I were to take these grape varieties to the United States and attempt to produce this wine exactly, I couldn't do it. So why should I be able to attempt it and then say that this is X Region's wine? Also you have to take into account, as it happens here, that a lot of these food, wine, etc. 'denominations' as they are called, are the only things holding up the local economy. The production of certain foods and wines is an art, really, so you can't look at it from an industrial point of view.

I am not a huge fan of bureaucracy either, but this kind of protectionism comes to the aid of the small business primarily, so I am in favor of it.

I suppose certain things like cheddar cheese are so well-known now in the US that they should probably be grandfathered, so to speak. And obviously you're not going to fine people for asking for 'champagne' - but some control is necessary, yes.


Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice. -- H.L. Mencken

Re: Understanding why this is (5.00 / 2) (#154)
by wadam on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:26:48 PM EST

The region where I live in Spain is famous for its wine. This wine has certain characteristics not just because of the variety of the grape, but because of other factors like the soil and the climate. If I were to take these grape varieties to the United States and attempt to produce this wine exactly, I couldn't do it. So why should I be able to attempt it and then say that this is X Region's wine?

The problem with your argument is that American wine producers do not claim to produce "X Region's wine", but rather, a wine in the style of "X Region." Take Rioja for example (there was just an article in at sfgate.org about this a few weeks ago). There is the traditional Rioja, and then there is a new world variation that requires a shorter aging period and tastes different. The new world variation was pioneered in California, but it has since become very popular in the areas of Spain that produced Rioja in the first place. Say that we call the new world version of the wine California Rioja. Should spanish winemakers be barred from producing California Rioja because it is, after all, a uniquely California wine? Alternately, should Spanish winemakers have to call the wine Spanish California Rioja? It seems to me that with wine and cheese and even cured meats and sausages, foreign versions of local products are not named after the regions but the styles, and as long as they are not trying to fool anybody into thinking otherwise, it should be alright. When I go into a deli to buy prosciuto, I ask, "is this di parma, san danielle, or domestic." The person working the counter doesn't lie to me, and I make my buying decisions based on the answer. Perhaps what is needed is not G.I.s, but rather, a small dose of Caviat Emptor.

Adam Zolkover
http://wadam.blogspot.com

[ Parent ]
And in 120 years we have.... (3.50 / 2) (#214)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:37:59 PM EST

Spanish California Spanish California Rioja?
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
The problem with that is (5.00 / 3) (#268)
by felixrayman on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:28:56 PM EST

The problem with your argument is that American wine producers do not claim to produce "X Region's wine", but rather, a wine in the style of "X Region."

Why don't said wine producers claim to be producing wine in the style of their OWN region? The answer is of course simple, they are hijacking a reputation that was developed over hundreds or thousands of years. Fuck that. Develop your OWN reputation, don't hijack someone else's. Why do capitalists have so much trouble realizing they should COMPETE?

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
The problem with that is (5.00 / 1) (#340)
by wadam on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:34:56 AM EST

Why don't said wine producers claim to be producing wine in the style of their OWN region?

Perhaps the people who developed the California style of Rioja came from said region of Spain and recognize that they owe something to that style of wine... As an aside, would it be a rip-off if California wine was produced in Rioja California? I'm not saying that it is, but it is possible. California was a Spanish colony after all.

Why do capitalists have so much trouble realizing they should COMPETE?

It seems to me that real competition comes if it is recogized that the two wines are of the same style, and if both producers are free to label wine as they like, relying on the consumer to have the smarts to make their own decision. If you force the California producers to change the name of their wine, suddenly, it is no longer in direct competition with the Spanish version. It's like saying that apple and orange producers are in competition. But then the EU knows that, doesn't it. The point of G.I.'s is to make sure that there is no competition...

Adam Zolkover http://wadam.blogspot.com

[ Parent ]
whats the problem (5.00 / 1) (#312)
by fhotg on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:11:49 AM EST

with making up a new attention grabbing name for your new super-duper product ? Like Caliocha or something ? And add a note on the label which says: "Rioja imitation".

The problem is, you want to profit from a traditional trademark b/c you don't have the quality or stamina or both or get a name yourself.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

The problem is (5.00 / 1) (#366)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:45:58 AM EST

That these have generally become generic descriptions for a type of food rather than a description of where the food came from. Cheddar is the somewhat hard orange cheese. Parmesan is the white stuff you grate and put on pasta and pizza. They have become generic names. No one buys a Belgian waffle expecting it to be imported from Belgium.

It even has happened to American places and we haven't bitched - for example, I live in New York City, but I can buy a Philly (Philadelphia) Cheesesteak down the street.

There's even precedent in trademark law - you are in danger of losing your trademark when you let it become a commonly used generic word.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

One sided, and badly informed (4.52 / 23) (#45)
by Betcour on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 02:09:19 PM EST

Point one :
The US farming subsidies are as bad as those in the EU. Pot calling the kettle black...

Point two :
Trademarks belong to only one owner, who can use it and abuse it at will, license it, or sell it to someone else. GI don't belong to anyone in particular, and cannot be sold or abused like a trademark.

The article is completely silent on the fact that every GIs put some minimum requirements on how the product can be made. Any cheese made in Greece cannot be called Feta. Unless it is made in a specific way, it won't be able to use the name.

In the end, GIs make sure that someone buying Fetta cheese is really buying greek Fata cheese, and not some bland substitute made somewhere else or some greek cheese that is not Fetta.

US sudsidies (4.40 / 5) (#73)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:14:09 PM EST

Read the linked Economist and Time articles. A couple months ago when the Economist was ranking the developing world for how much they help third world countries, they blasted the US in almost all categories. However, the US was given the top ranking in trade policies because of our liberal policies and we had less protectionism, tariffs, and subsidies than the rest of the developing world. The comparions between the EU and America isn't even close in this regard. The EU has this antiquated ag policy that seriously disrupts the global market, and it is supposed to be one of the key issues on Cancun. The US even offered to drop 3/5 of their subsidies if the EU opened up too, however the EU hasn't taken up the offer.

Yes, trademarks can be abused, however the trademark on "parmigiano reggiano" is owned by an Italian group and they seem to do well with that. At worst it only takes small change in the way trademarks are decided (given preference to the appropriate industry) to fix that. Then you dodge the excess unnecessary government and things like not be allowed to use Parmesan-like.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

Trademarks (4.75 / 4) (#124)
by Betcour on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:02:35 AM EST

however the trademark on "parmigiano reggiano" is owned by an Italian group and they seem to do well with that

What happen if this group decides to sell the trademark for a tidy sum of money to a big Chinese corp ? Then this cheese, made in China with soja, will be the only one labeled as parmigiano reggiano. Real parmigiano reggiano, made in Italy the way its meant to be, won't even be allowed to use the name anymore !

And what if two groups of parmigiano reggiano producers want the trademark ? Who is gona get it ? What if the group who owns it ask the other group to pay to use the trademark ?

The point of GIs is that they can't be owned by anyone, unlike a tradermark which give the owner a monopoly on the name. They can't be sold or licensed or transfered, or profit a single individual. This is a huge difference from trademark, copyright and patents. And in the end GIs profit the consummers because they can buy parmigiano reggiano knowing that it is the real thing, and not a cheap knock of.

[ Parent ]

sure (5.00 / 1) (#410)
by speek on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:07:28 PM EST

Selling trademarks can be a problem, but geographical place names aren't much better. There's a Parma near me (Rochester, NY), and probably at least one in almost every state in the US. Other places near me are called Greece, Egypt, and Sweden, and there's a hundred more I can't remember of the top of my head. If a town here happens to have the same name and make a similar product, they won't be allowed to name it after their town. Or, some devious bastard could get a town renamed to his liking.

It seems obvious to me, a product has a type and a producer. Trying to include both pieces of information in one term is a mistake.

--
al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Please don't remind me (3.50 / 4) (#129)
by tetsuwan on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:37:11 AM EST

how much I dislike the farming subsidies in the EU. Someday I'll shoot a French farmer in his tractor parked on the highway. Gee.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

no, France really is much worse (4.50 / 4) (#123)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:21:59 AM EST

Even the Guardian argues that such is the case. A perusal of the anti-subsidies blog they're sponsoring should clarify things.

[ Parent ]
not true (4.50 / 4) (#148)
by Battle Troll on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:04:43 AM EST

According to the Economist, around 3/4ths of the final prices received by French farmers for their crops are made up by subsidies. In America the proportion is around 40%. (In Canada, FYI, it's more like 10% unless you're a Quebec dairy farmer.)
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
It's a difference of perspective. (4.68 / 22) (#47)
by cabbage on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 03:15:42 PM EST

I've been skimming some of the US hearings on the issue, and I'll come back to to Idaho potatoes in a moment. The thing that is patently obvious is that the two protection systems are founded on different axioms - and unfortunately this article doesn't really touch on why the systems are different.

The US, by its own statements, has adopted a rules-based model for food naming that parallels intellectual property rights in other fields. Namely, if you register a trademark first, you have rights to it. The European model is that descriptions of foodstuffs must be "accurate" - and that a particular food is distinctive at least partly because of the location and culture from which it comes. There has always been concern that the common market shouldn't destroy local culture and thus protection of regional products is part of this.

Much of this system has evolved, of course, and it isn't always consistent. The US system by contrast is more consistent - but meets a completely different set of requirements:

For example, even though "parmigiano reggiano" is already a registered trademark in the US, showing that the system appears to be adequate, that would be overturned

The problem is that a trademark could be owned by anyone and provides no verified guarantee of origin - this is why EU governments police geographic indicators. Some of these indicators are considered generic terms in the US - others are trademarks. The problem with trademarks is that they restrict access - if I am the first person to trademark "Somerset Cheddar" then others cannot describe their product that way. GIs allow me to sell Somerset Cheddar as a small business as long as my Cheddar comes from Somerset.

I do see the problem for companies already using some of these terms - and I'm sympathetic to some kind of exemption or grandfathering of rights, but the basic principle of GIs seems sound.

So: Idaho potatoes. Well, if the proposal was accepted then Idaho potatoes could be registered, and would be distinguished as potatoes from Idaho produced in a particular way. The current difficulty appears to be that a) The EU restricts the import of Idaho potatoes, ostensibly for disease protection and b) someone is already using Idaho as part of a product name in the EU. If the proposal were accepted, they'd lose those rights.

In summary, the situation is a "clash of cultures". Protectionism it may be, but there is possibly a European attitude that says that certain things really ought to be protected!

Idaho Potatos (5.00 / 1) (#453)
by Rich0 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:32:49 PM EST

someone is already using Idaho as part of a product name in the EU. If the proposal were accepted, they'd lose those rights.

Uh, last time I checked somebody in the US was already selling Parm Cheese.

Why should swiss cheese only be swiss cheese if made in Switzerland?

Should French Fries only be legal if made in France?  How about French toast?

How about chinese food?  Should an Italian restrauant be forced to fly in its food each morning and reheat it?

The point is that if you know how to make swiss cheese, you can make it anywhere.  If a company comes up with a brand name (which ISN'T a common word like Windows, Swiss, etc.) they should be able to get protection.  However, a term which is merely descriptive of the taste of the food or style should not.  People don't buy swiss cheese thinking it was made overseas - they realize it is domestic (they even call it domestic swiss).  If a name needs to be enforced to prevent public confusion that is one thing - but all the US public cares about is what the food tastes like - not where it was made.

[ Parent ]

Branding vs Content (none / 0) (#517)
by pmgolz on Tue Sep 23, 2003 at 08:46:50 AM EST

There's branding - a specific name for a generic product and then there's the content of that product. There is a strict convention as to what the content of, say, roquefort is. The conventions governing the content of products like cola or cornflakes are less rigorous. The brand name is the property of the people who make a particular product.

The problem is that people producing roquefort outside France are not subject to the controls and therefore might well not be roquefort, insofar as the contents might be different to a product made under licence in France. These people should not be allowed to call their product Roquefort. If it is made in, say, the US but does fulfill France's controls then it should be able to be called Roquefort. Surely it's the content not the location that's important with these GI's.

The problem is that the restrictions placed on a product in the EU are fair more severe than those in the US. They could always change their production methods rather than spend a fortune on marketing.
------
Enthios
[ Parent ]

interesting comment (2.87 / 8) (#57)
by khallow on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 05:36:29 PM EST

From the "cheese cultures" reference:

"Geographic indicators" are vital for European food and wine products to compete in the world market, said Tony van der Haegen, minister counselor at the European Commission Delegation in Washington, D.C.

Assuming this statement were true, the counselor is stating that European agriculture requires strong government intervention and subsidies in order to compete. Then we're saying that European agriculture is so uncompetitive that it requires extraordinary measures.

Incidentally, the US has trademarks and the like that are regional. Eg, Vidalia onions which are grown in a particular region of Georgia. Certain regions are trademarked for wines (eg, "The Pinacles", a region of volcanic hills in California). However, the key difference here is that these regional names aren't in prior use. On the other hand, the variety of names that the EU wants to sieze as "Geographical Indications" are in common use.

OTOH, being a reasonable person, I don't see why the EU or some private entity couldn't be permitted (via eminent domain) to purchase the rights to these names. How many billions of dollars is it worth to you to have the trade mark to "Parmesian Cheese"? Compensate competitors completely for their loss of business. Of course, the EU wants this for free.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Dumbest article ever (3.61 / 13) (#68)
by Bjorniac on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 08:59:11 PM EST

If I buy something called "Icelandic wine" I expect it to come from Iceland. Likewise I expect cheddar cheese to come from Cheddar. The EU is simply stoping the wilful mis-labeling of products. I don't want to buy Californian wine and find out it was produced in a refinery in the sudetenland, so now the EU has made sure that no-one calls something "Tibetan willow" if the willow doesn't come from Tibet. Sheesh, perhaps I could interest you in some New York real estate, located in Uzbekistan?
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
Where do you live? (3.20 / 5) (#70)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:06:37 PM EST

Do you live in Europe? Since the EU already has GIs you might expect that because it is already enforced. Like I've pointed out below, this might just be a cultural issue. In America we don't expect cheddar cheese to be made in England or port wine to be from Portugal. We expect cheddar cheese to be similar and we expect a thick, sweet dessert wine when we order port. Just like we don't really expect New England clam chowder to be made in New England.

However, no matter where you live (except maybe England) cheddar doesn't get protections from the current GI body in the EU. Cheddar can be made anywhere no matter where you live in the world, as far as I know. So you might have just picked a poor example.

Would the piece be better if I added something about the possible cultural differences?
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

It could be why your food is terrible (3.91 / 12) (#72)
by Bjorniac on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 09:11:32 PM EST

Seriously, though, living in Europe you expect Champagne to come from France - yes, I am European, with a name like Bjorn it's hard not to be. To us, it's like something being called "milk chocolate" and then turning out to have no milk in (another issue we have ;-) ) if you call something by a geographically specific name. Also, your article only puts across one side of the argument. If I see in a shop a "Californian Zinfandel" I know that the Zin is californian (OK, not the best example). If I see an "American Pizza" the pizza is american. However, I have seen "American Style Pizza" made in Italy. It's simply a trades description issue here - if you call something "Xian bacon" it had better be from X otherwise you're misleading people.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
Not me. (5.00 / 2) (#122)
by ti dave on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:16:55 AM EST

I expect my Champagne to come from Champagne-Ardenne.

Bordeaux can go screw itself.

I'm almost drunk enough to go on IRC. ~Herring
[ Parent ]

"style"? (5.00 / 1) (#392)
by pin0cchio on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:19:30 PM EST

Where do you expect your little-c "champagne style wine made in USA" to come from?


lj65
[ Parent ]
Very well (4.00 / 2) (#213)
by chbm on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:35:28 PM EST

> we expect a thick, sweet dessert wine when we order port.

Very well, go to cost-co and buy your "Thick, Sweet Dessert" labeled wine.


-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]

then please tell me why (3.00 / 5) (#232)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:40:45 PM EST

The EU should tell American what to call its own American products in the American market, especially when they have had over a century to buy the trademark if they thought it was that important (considering that things industries Parmesan and Scotch have done that and successfully control labels)?
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
Some of the best "cheddar"... (3.20 / 5) (#81)
by aziegler on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:12:29 PM EST

...is made in New York and Canada. I've had English Cheddar cheese, and I prefer the aged Canadian stuff to it.

-austin

[ Parent ]

feh! (4.00 / 4) (#83)
by infinitera on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:15:26 PM EST

Vermont is where it's at!

[ Parent ]
Seconded (3.50 / 2) (#84)
by djotto on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:19:22 PM EST

Canadian Cheddar is very popular here (UK) - but it's labelled as Canadian, in big red letters.

It would kinda suck for the Canadian imports (and the consumer) if a UK company started making their own "Canadian Cheddar", trading off the import's reputation for quality.

[ Parent ]

See (5.00 / 1) (#371)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:52:22 AM EST

Cheddar is not a place name anymore when applied to cheese. It is a type of cheese regardless of where it came from. The UK Cheddar can label itself as "The Original Cheddar from Cheddar" or whatever, and the Canadian Cheddar can be labelled as "Fine Canadian Cheddar." They are both making Cheddar. The Canadian Cheddar cannot, however, claim to be made in England, or vice versa.

If Canadian Cheddar came to be known as a variety of cheese than an English company could indeed start to make "Canadian Cheddar."

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Re: Some of the best "cheddar"... (3.83 / 6) (#109)
by Toshio on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:22:29 AM EST

I've had English Cheddar cheese, and I prefer the aged Canadian stuff to it.

Thus pointing out that there is notable difference between the two cheddars, thus making an argument in the favour of GI list. You sure wouldn't want to mix-up the two.

Actualy the idea of GI is quite sound, the execution, however, will probably (with probabilty very near 1.0) be useless and possibly harmful. If for nothing else for the difficulty of determining what "the real stuff" really is, and what doesn't need protection.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
why? (4.50 / 2) (#178)
by Delirium on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:25:11 PM EST

What's wrong with just labelling the country of origin? Certainly if someone wants cheddar from the UK, they can read the label and find some. The GI list instead seems to be trying to artificially inflate the market for a product nobody wants: most people who want "cheddar" do not care whether it is made in the UK or elsewhere.

[ Parent ]
Not only a country... (4.50 / 2) (#192)
by Toshio on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:15:58 PM EST

What's wrong with just labelling the country of origin?

The country of origin is not in doubt, however, when I arrive somewhere (anywhere for that matter) and see written Cheddar (I think this particular cheese is getting too much of attention in this thread, so any other food produce would suffice instead) on some package I expect it to taste just like any other Cheddar I might have bought anywhere else. If it doesn't taste the same , or at least reasonably same, I feel cheated. From this standpoint I give the proposal thumbs up, as it is aimed to ensure consistent consumer expirience. Since the name Cheddar is so common it can not be trademarked, I completely understand the need that you prevent people around you trashing your reputation (be it good or bad) with product offering different experience.

That said, I also feel that the proposal is flawed, because Cheddar can be characterized by taste, smell, texture, and color. Tying all these properties to one particular geographical region happens to be, IMHO, very very stupid. While I don't think some strange brews calling themselves Merlot or Chardonnay have anything in common with the real thing, I also don't think it is proper to say that they can't be "real" just because they are not made in the right province of the right country. This would be grave injustice to all those excellent people trying to do the right thing and to produce the right vine.

The GI list instead seems to be trying to artificially inflate the market for a product nobody wants: most people who want "cheddar" do not care whether it is made in the UK or elsewhere.

I beg to disagree. If I want "cheddar" I want certain falvour, smell, texture, and colour. If I don't get it, I feel cheated. Since the Cheddar can not be registered as trademark, I still want some assurance that what I see written is what I will get. While tying this to paritcular region is wrong, I also don't think that allowing anybody to market anything under whatever name they choose is proper either. I will reiterate. GI list if used sanely and with great care of what is allowed to get on it is a win-win proposal for businesses and consumers alike. Unfortunately, because countries are in business of limiting international free market, it will be used to strengthen local monopolies and limit choices. For this alone, I guess, I would vote against the proposal. I don't like lose-lose situations.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
that I'd be more supportive of (5.00 / 1) (#449)
by Delirium on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:14:47 PM EST

I'd agree with quality controls on certain classes of food products: cheddar that has to meet some criteria to be called "cheddar", and so on. What I'm opposed to, like you, is the geographical naming. However, the EU seems primarily interested in the geographical naming, as a form of protectionism (to artificially inflate the sales of these regions which would be given a monopoly on the product--which just so happen to be mostly within the EU).

The US approach to champagne I think is an okay example of this currently--it doesn't have to be made in Champagne, but it does have to be made with the Method Champagnoise (i.e. carbonation from the 2nd fermentation; no artificial carbonation added later). Perhaps there could be more stringent controls on the quality, but I think this--and not geographical labeling--is the right direction to go in.

[ Parent ]

How many Americans even know... (4.50 / 2) (#168)
by Ray Chason on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:36:30 PM EST

...that there's such a place as Cheddar, England? We hear cheddar and think cheese, not Old Blighty, and if we think of a place it's probably Wisconsin.
--
The War on Terra is not meant to be won.
Delendae sunt RIAA, MPAA et Windoze
[ Parent ]
I like that. (4.66 / 3) (#186)
by it certainly is on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:58:00 PM EST

"English Cheddar". There's no such thing, really. Just a generic cheese from a factory in Milton Keynes. That's why the supermarket sells big blocks of "mild cheddar" (from aforementioned factories in the middle of nowhere) for low prices, next to all the branded cheddars, e.g. Orkney, Isle of Mull, Cathedral City, etc.

As for the "Cheddar cheese", personally I think it's too late to put the genie back in the bottle on that one. It's like the classic Emmental "Swiss" cheese (buttery cheese with holes in it). Most cheeses don't even use the name "Emmental", they use their own names like Gouda, Edam or Jarlesberg. There are thousands of cheeses in the Emmental or Cheddar style, very few of them even mention the word in their name. Compare this to knock-off Fetas, whose packaging always tries to look as Greek as possible. Similarly, knock-off Roqueforts, Gruyeres and Parmesans.

Incidentally, I've tried the generic "Canadian extra mature cheddar", there's nothing all that special about it. Drumloch cheddar, on the other hand, is absolutely gorgeous. Also, I had some Doux de Montagne today and I highly recommend it.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

well then.... (5.00 / 1) (#264)
by felixrayman on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:20:26 PM EST

I've had English Cheddar cheese, and I prefer the aged Canadian stuff to it.

Well you'ld be pretty pissed off if you bought some cheese labeled "Aged Canadian" that turned out to come from Cheddar wouldn't you? Kind of the whole point here.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Hell yeah I would (5.00 / 1) (#296)
by jjayson on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:22:45 AM EST

But then I do like I do with every other food product I buy: I would look at the label and not buy that brand anymore. That's the same thing I do when pizza sucks. If you want to protect food quality then you have to do much more than just GIs. Why would you only protect the quality of a few types of products and not everything?
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
Don't Be Silly (2.55 / 9) (#88)
by thelizman on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:38:21 PM EST

I buy something called "Icelandic wine" I expect it to come from Iceland.
That's a problem. See, I used to love Moon Pies. There's also the Mars bar, Star Crunch, Star Fruit, and so on. Now, I was never foolish enough to believe any of these were manufactured in proximity to their name sakes. Orbit gum is most certianly manufactured on terra firma.

A name is only a name. You make the assumption that Icelandic wine is made in iceland, but some of the best Icelandic wine is made in Wisconsin (9 Zero™), IMHO. And if you roll the label, you'll clearly see it that 9 Zero™ is made in Wisconsin. Likewise, the label of Kraft™ Parmasean Cheese in my fridge is made in Monroe, North Carolina USA. My Swiss cheese is made in Bolivia...North Carolina USA. The French bread on my shelf was made in Richlands, North Carolina USA. The Italian salad dressing is made by a short polish guy on Bell Fork Road... Jacksonville, North Carolina USA. The French fries are grown in Idaho, and fried at my neighborhood Checkers™ - much to the chagrin of the French since French fries are from Belgium.

So the point is, there is no reasonable expectation for any rational individual to think that a name is indicative of a products origin. I don't know about the EU, but in America we have labelling laws which typically require a point of origin. The EU ought to do the same, and doing so would inform consumers as to the origin of their products, and let them make the educated purchasing decision.

I think its safe to assume that GI is nothing more than a protection racket, and they're trying to find a legal way to violate various and sundry trade agreements with the rest of the planet in order to protect the economic interests of a few major pan-national corporations.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Well, we happen to think differently (3.77 / 9) (#90)
by Bjorniac on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:44:32 PM EST

Just because companies in the US are allowed to mislead people in this way, and it is misleading to someone in Europe, doesn't mean it should happen. A label in size 1 font saying "Produce of xxx" isn't going to stand out above "French wine" or whatever. Or should the EU pay in "US Dollars (made in Mexico)"?
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
Caveat Emptor (2.85 / 7) (#91)
by thelizman on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:46:31 PM EST

So, Europeans are too lazy to read labels?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
So if I print dollar bills (4.00 / 7) (#94)
by Bjorniac on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:53:35 PM EST

with a tiny text on them saying "Made in Mexico" it's ok for me to pass them off in the US? Give me a break. If I start selling something as "Gold watches" and they turn out not to contain any gold, but I put a little note in line 334545762 of the buyers contract that says that, it's ok?
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
The Difference between Fraud And You... (2.50 / 12) (#98)
by thelizman on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:18:29 PM EST

Before you start crying about how you get taken by the label on a bottle of Scotch that was made in Canada and not Scotland, you ought to know that "French" as in "French bread" is an adjective. "Swiss" as in "Swiss Cheese" describes the type of cheese, not the point of origin.

Quite honestly, you - and everyone who believes as you do, are about as rediculous as they come. These straw-man arguments you pulled out of nowhere are as equally rediculous. If I bought a "gold watch", I'd be smart enough to check that it is "gold", and what its karat weight is, as opposed to "gold tone" or a watch made by the "Gold Watch Company". Otherwise, there's about 10,000 street vendors in Paris that would love to have your €50.

Seriously, you're pathetic and feeble if you go through life making such ludicrous assumptions.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
You obviously have way too much time on your hands (4.50 / 6) (#183)
by Bjorniac on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:45:50 PM EST

If I'm shopping for a family of 5, no I don't read every label down to the most minute detail to make sure what I'm getting is what it says it is. I EXPECT my swiss chocolate to be swiss. If you make Swiss style chocolate, fine, but it's out and out FRAUD to call something "Swiss" if it isn't from Switzerland. Basically, you just want to be able to label things in a misleading manner to hijack a good name for your products and mislead people into buying them. If you can't see that this is wrong, then I leave you to it.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
Okay. (4.00 / 2) (#212)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:30:13 PM EST

So you buy something called "Parma ham" and don't bother looking at the label (I examine the label of all food I buy so I know what is going into my body, both out of nutritional education and curiosity). Now, supposed it didn't come Parma Italy, but simply made in the traditional style (by let's say some Italian immigrant who's family has been making this ham for generations -- read the last blockqouted paragraph in my story for a similar story).

If is ham was good, then why should you care. You are getting something that meets or exceeds your expectations.

If the ham wasn't good, then you won't buy it again. Maybe you mention it is a conversation to somebody and they don't buy it either. It hasn't cost you much except for maybe a single purchase (and if you were the one that somebody told didn't taste well, then you might not have bought it at all). This still doesn't protect you from poorly made ham made in Italy. Crap knows no borders and can be produced anywhere.

Besides, this only covers basic foods and not things that are prepared. Many people across the world buy crab salad and most of it is made with whitefish (I think) used as immitation crab. There isn't much of a problem because for many people it is close enough that the cheapness is more important.

The more you think about it, the most it seems just to be a measure used to protect regional farmers and producers at the expense of others. Of course, that is against free-trade and the WTO policies though.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

It's a matter of quality (4.40 / 5) (#225)
by Bjorniac on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:02:07 PM EST

That's the thing: appelacion controlle wines and various cheeses are made to standards which are rigorously controlled in their respective countries of origin. If I make a "champagne" in france, it has to reach certain standards. If I make it in the Ukraine, it might not. Hence someone mistakenly buying champagne from the Ukraine (OK, not the best example, but think similar products) would find that they had purchased something they assumed to be of a certain quality to find that it isn't of that quality. Now GIs are one way of making sure that the wine I buy comes from France and meets set standards. OK, perhaps it shouldn't matter where stuff comes from, but I for one didn't buy anything from South Africa during the apartheid era as a protest. If I'd found that my wonderful wine was from RSA when in fact I thought it was French I would have been outraged. Limited though it may be, I try to use the capitalist system we live in - chosing what I buy not just on how good it is, but on various other factors. Telling me that a product was made in a country not under a tinpot dictator (think how many USians wouldn't want to have bought, say, Idaho potatoes grown in Iraq and sold for Saddam) is a good thing, and I think that whomever is selling a product has no right to imply its origin is somewhere that the product doesn't come from. If you don't want people to discriminate on origin, don't pretend to have any, but putting a false point of origin on a product is wilfully misleading people.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
oh boy... (5.00 / 2) (#276)
by martingale on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:15:45 PM EST

You can do better than this one.

If the ham wasn't good, then you won't buy it again.
Which one won't you buy? The one marked "Parma ham"? Do you tell your friend that (s)he shouldn't waste money on "Parma ham"? If you want to treat the problem as purely a trademark issue, then obviously that non-italian company just diluted the "Parma ham" trademark. People don't read the fine print, so they'll never talk about "Parma ham (produced locally by xyz ltd)".

This still doesn't protect you from poorly made ham made in Italy. Crap knows no borders and can be produced anywhere.
Which nicely brings up the question of manufacturing and production standards. The EU is famous for legislating the curvature of bananas, and you've just argued their case for them. Not only do you want to turn "Parma ham" into a trademark, which must be actively protected against dilution (cue thousands of Italian Parmesan investigators scouring banana republics for potential trademark infringements), but you'll need manufacturing standards to protect consumers from fraud (this ham follows Parmesan specification ISO-1201790256 and can be called "Parmesan ham") by non-italian companies. Or are you suggesting that the Italian immigrant family in New York who produce their own version can be counted upon to not vary the procedure appreciably, by virtue of being Italian? What about if they hire a Senegalese worker?

[ Parent ]
Ah yes... (3.00 / 2) (#295)
by jjayson on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:19:35 AM EST

The myth that the government will know my tastebuds better than myself. Wonderful. Why were you even given a brain if you refuse to use it and would rather let your government tell you everything. And the Europeans call Americans sheep, but it clearly seems the opposite.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
the customer is always right (5.00 / 2) (#302)
by martingale on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 02:10:56 AM EST

Don't presume the majority of customers operate like you do. If the fine print was always read by them, it wouldn't be printed finely, and you know it. Government has nothing to do with this(*).

(*) may depend on locality.

[ Parent ]

The US is a different case though. (4.75 / 4) (#216)
by Sanction on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:42:04 PM EST

You see, the assumption that one should have to check where Parma ham or Parmesean cheese is from would only be ludicrous in a country such as the US with few centuries old regional products and virtually no consumer protection laws.  In other places in the world (ie: the rest of it) that have been making traditional and high quality items such as these, region names are descriptive of the point of origin.

A more appropriate labeling solution is to require "IMITATION" or "x-LIKE" in the name.  I think many US cheese producers already label their cheese imitation Parmesean, because it obviously is.  Just because a little upstart country thinks these terms should be used one way should not necessarily entitle it to change the standards that have been true for centuries before it even began, especially with no better reason than corporate marketing of low end products.

I can either stay in and be annoying or go out and be stupid. The choice is yours.
[ Parent ]

You are crying about the wrong thing. (3.14 / 7) (#101)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:43:09 PM EST

If a producer wanted everybody to know that his cheddar was made in England, then he would put it in much larger than a 1-pt font. It would be of substantial size and in a prominent place. People would get used to seeing the label and when they didn't see it they would just assume it wasn't made there (if they even cared at all).

Of course you are not going to look for the 1-pt font phrase "not made in England" but you are going to look for the 20-point stand-out that says "made and packaged in England"
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

It is the damned label! (4.25 / 4) (#181)
by Bjorniac on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:42:54 PM EST

So you look for printed in America on your dollar bills, do you?
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
Well, some of them are printed in Canada (nt) (2.66 / 3) (#116)
by Daelin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:34:15 AM EST



[ Parent ]
YOU think differently (3.14 / 7) (#100)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 11:40:14 PM EST

I think that is the important part of the issue. Expectations are different in the US and the EU. In the EU you already have GIs to protect regional producers. Maybe you think that Icelandic wine is from Iceland because the GI legislation has conditioned you to think that way (not that it is bad, just that you do).

However, here in the US, we don't expect NY cheesecake to be made in NY, so why do we need GIs?

You expect that. We do not. So we should not need GIs.

However, we might not be allowed to have port from California even though nobody thinks (and few even know that originally) port is from Portugal.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

But not the way you believe. (5.00 / 1) (#346)
by artis on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:59:31 AM EST

Maybe you think that Icelandic wine is from Iceland because the GI legislation has conditioned you to think that way (not that it is bad, just that you do).
No I think that way because it says so. Why the hell should someone in say Italy be able to call any product Icelandic? Call it Italy something so I know where it comes from, or a non-location name if you're ashamed of Italy.
--
Can you know that you are omniscient?
[ Parent ]
Why did you buy the Kraft version? (5.00 / 1) (#261)
by felixrayman on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:15:56 PM EST

Likewise, the label of KraftTM Parmasean Cheese in my fridge is made in Monroe, North Carolina USA.

Now why did you buy the Kraft brand? Without a doubt , there was a generic container of "Parmesan" cheese sitting right next to the Kraft container, and without a doubt the generic container cost less. Yet you bought the Kraft one. Why is that?

Because the Kraft trademark gave you useful information about that product - you could expect it to be manufactured to a certain level of consistency and quality, an expectation you obviously didn't have about the generic version. And you were willing to pay money for the Kraft brand based on that extra information the trademark ( or "protection racket" as you would call it, that was developed in order to "protect the economic interests of a few major pan-national corporations" ) gave you.

GI legislation would be useful for the exact same reason - it would provide information to consumers that some consumers would be willing to pay for. There would be a Kraft Parmesan cheese package, and right next to it a Kraft Powedered Pizza Cheese ( "compare to Parmesan Cheese" ) package and you could choose whether you wanted to pay the extra money or not. If the copycat was as good as the real thing this legislation need not cost you a penny - you would buy the copycat version. If the copycat version is NOT as good as the real thing, then both you and the producers of the real thing are being ripped off.

Efficient markets need perfect information, GI trade rules would be a step in the right direction.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Store generics (5.00 / 1) (#294)
by jjayson on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:14:01 AM EST

Growing up in a family that didn't have much money, I know my way around store generics to some degree. And store labels can still taste worse than even the cheapest name brand. One of the best examples is in soda. Things like Kirkland soda taste terrible compared to Coke.

Also, Kraft has shredded Parmesan instead of the dustlike grated stuff, so that might be what he is talking about.

Besides, I've had some of those really expensive (and really damn hard) blocks of Parmesan. With the tiny amount that goes onto food, I couldn't taste a difference between that and the bowls of shredded cheese that you can buy in the refridgerator section near the pasta.

Also, efficient markets do not need perfect information. It isn't binary. The more information you have the better. I think you meant to say that perfectly efficient markets need perfect information. But then again that is still up to question: just because information isn't officially released that doesn't mean that it will not play a part in decision making -- you buy it, it tastes like crap, you tell others, people stop buying it, and the problem is solved without "perfect information."
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

parmesan (5.00 / 1) (#311)
by fhotg on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:56:17 AM EST

You can tell the amount of saw-dust in the shredded parmesan - cans by looking at the amount of cellulose contained therein.

I remember that brand-names were not better according to that criterium than generics.

If you can't tell the difference to real cheese, your taste could use training.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

Moron (5.00 / 2) (#380)
by awgsilyari on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:52:02 PM EST

And I suppose you demand that "cottage cheese" be produced in cottages?

Chickpeas are not peas. Buckwheat isn't wheat. The whale shark isn't a whale. Sea otters aren't otters. Seahorses aren't horses. Ice cream has no ice in it. String beans have no string in them. Poison oak isn't oak. Wormwood has no worms in it. Flying squirrels don't fly.

Oh, the fucking horrors.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

I almost support GI (3.85 / 7) (#78)
by godix on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:03:52 PM EST

There just needs to be one little thing added and I'd support the idea of GI. Tack on a 'common usage' disqualifier like trademarks have and that would eliminate most problems. By this point certain names are so common their geographic label means nothing (IE frankfurters, cheddar cheese, american cheese, etc) so shouldn't be afforded protection. Other terms are still closely tied to the region in their name (Idaho potatos, Champagne (in the EU at least, in the US it isn't really tied to the region), Wisconson cheese, etc) and protecting them is no unreasonable.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
I didn't want to give my solution in the article (2.83 / 6) (#93)
by jjayson on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:51:56 PM EST

but maybe I can do it here.

I don't thinkg the GIs are needed. I think that trademarks (maybe with some provision for registration priority goes to the appropriate industry group, but I don't see that as necessary).

More than anything, I think existing truth in advertising laws can handle this with very little change.

"Florida oranges" to most people means oranges grown in Florida. The same with Idaho potatoes. So they should have to be grown there.

However, thinks like New England clam chowder, cheddar cheese, and Parma ham describe methods of being made and not where they are made. So a Parma ham doesn't need to be made in Parma, Italy, but it should be a reasonable description of the product.

This simple distinction seems like it would clear up most of the issues people have with the labeling. Well at least in the US where we don't expect our NY cheesecake to really be made in NY.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

well, those are good ideas for laws.. (4.25 / 4) (#107)
by infinitera on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:17:36 AM EST

But they're going to be differing from country to country, aren't they? That's the reasoning behind proposing such a thing in the WTO. Your proposal makes more sense than the EU's, certainly.

[ Parent ]
EU Tradition (4.60 / 5) (#119)
by Daelin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:22:41 AM EST

Historically, there's a bit of tradition in European trade.  Greek wine always comes from Greece, and Parma comes from Parma, Italy.

I think the EU sees this as a form of defending themselves from cultural degredation by the USA.  We have very few regional brands in the USA that are actually from those regions.  It flat out doesn't make sense to us, in Melting Pot, USA.

I'm pre-disposed to think this is a bad policy.  GIs depend on very intricate familiarity with the cultural complexities of the regions participating in the market.  I know a European would consider that a mark of sophistication, and worldliness.  I think it's irrelevant, and it needlessly complicates the task of buying cheese for my ham sandwich.

To put it another way, GIs produce a significant barrier to entering and participating in the market; a communications barrier.  It seems very strange to me that such a body would try to increase the volume of knowledge required to to interact between nations.

Dissolving the meaningfulness of region in a trademark does make the mark less informative, but it also vastly decreases the constraints on communication, and (dare I say it?) free trade.

I can produce a small disaster scenario: Parma cheese, as a single form of cheese, would have to be known under many different names, depending on where it was produced.  There could be ten or more different names for Parmasean alone in Europe.  This is Europe, where you could have three independent cheese shops in a market with a thousand different cheeses each and not a single shared inventory item.  I don't think this could enhance anyone's life.

What it could do is return some power to regional governments which corporations created, by giving those governments powerful trademark control.

[ Parent ]

EU Tradition (5.00 / 1) (#336)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:14:00 AM EST

To put it another way, GIs produce a significant barrier to entering and participating in the market; a communications barrier. It seems very strange to me that such a body would try to increase the volume of knowledge required to to interact between nations.

On the contrary, it lowers the communication barrier, because most of the work has been when setting the standard. That is, for producers using the GI.

And in the general case, I do not see want kind of constraint GIs have. Am I severly "constrained" because I can't call my cheese "Tomme de Savoie", or "Coca-Cola cheese"?

Of course for a few almost generic names it creates stupid problems. But it mostly affects big companies, while GIs a mostly useful to small producers.

[ Parent ]

I'm impressed (5.00 / 1) (#310)
by fhotg on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:49:01 AM EST

by your method of solving problems.

a) (implied): X means Z for me.
b) (stated): X means Z for most people.
c) "here is a simple solution, which clears most of the issues people have: "X means Z".

Our particular problem indeed has to do with differing perceptions of whats a household name and what a description which ought to be true. We are also talking about regulations which are the same for the US and Europe. From where I am sitting, "most" people don't give a shit where "Idaho potatoes" come from, but would consider it a fraud if their "Champagne" turned out to be California sparkling white whine instead of French Champagne.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

USA should say: Yeah, OK guys. (3.92 / 13) (#86)
by it certainly is on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:34:11 PM EST

"We get it. We only invented the Big Mac and the New York Strip. Absolutely every other food in the country was invented somewhere else and stolen. We have no history. We are a sham nation, build from the cast offs of other nations. We're sorry. We'll shut our fat mouths and let you get back to selling your genuine product without interference from our second-rate, knock off goods."

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

Correction.. (3.50 / 4) (#92)
by Chiron on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:47:39 PM EST

Our second-rate knock-off goods that don't cost nearly as much and are indistinguishable from the real thing by 85% of the consumers.

If the US goods were so terrible, then the EU wouldn't have a problem.. Only the US, with its notoriously bad taste, would buy American versions of European foods.

[ Parent ]

Yep. (4.14 / 7) (#95)
by it certainly is on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:53:43 PM EST

Fake Rolexes don't cost nearly as much and are indistinguishable from the real thing by 85% of consumers. They're still second-rate knock-off goods, though.

90% of their value comes from the good name of their branding, not their physical quality, which is why the integrity of their name should be protected.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Should it, though? (4.00 / 2) (#115)
by Daelin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:29:59 AM EST

90% of their value comes from the good name of their branding, not their physical quality, which is why the integrity of their name should be protected.

Why? I'll grant that trademarks could be devalued if they're abused. Still, what is the benefit of protecting them?

IOW, we protect trademarks because they're valuable, and they have value because we protect them. How does this better human existence? Does this make persons' lives better? There is clearly a cost, and a burden on society. Does the benefit overcome that burden in a meaningful way?



[ Parent ]
Costly signals (3.50 / 2) (#134)
by djotto on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:49:29 AM EST

they make your life better by helping you get laid. A Rolex is like being the neanderthal with the shiniest stone axe, or the peacock with the biggest tail.

[ Parent ]
The value of a trademark (5.00 / 3) (#166)
by Ray Chason on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:24:13 PM EST

Perhaps "90% of [Rolex's] value comes from the good name of their branding," but that good name comes from the quality of the product. If Rolex started putting out expensive crap, eventually that good name would be lost (see also Ford).

Of course, there are certain companies that can put out crap and still stay on top by way of illegal bullying tactics and a vast tissue of marketing bullshit.
--
The War on Terra is not meant to be won.
Delendae sunt RIAA, MPAA et Windoze
[ Parent ]

Yes, (5.00 / 3) (#176)
by it certainly is on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:12:45 PM EST

and as I said, most people can't tell the difference between an incredibly well made, hand crafted, original, artistic gold Rolex, and a cheap knock off factory-produced with gold-stained aluminium. Nor do they care. But they would pay a vastly inflated price (e.g. $50 instead of the manufacturing cost of $5) to a crooked businessman simply because he has illegally stolen Rolex's trademark and put it on his cheap, fake tat.

I don't know why you bring up Ford's name. He is the father of mass production. Mass production panders to the mass market. He has never been in the hand produced luxuries market.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Ford (5.00 / 1) (#326)
by Ray Chason on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:55:39 AM EST

I bring up Ford as an example of a company that had once been reputable, rested on its laurels, started manufacturing crap, and in time got its ass kicked in the market.

The point is that a name is worth nothing by itself; there must be a good product behind it.  So it is with Rolex.  So it once was with Ford.
--
The War on Terra is not meant to be won.
Delendae sunt RIAA, MPAA et Windoze
[ Parent ]

New York was named after an english province (4.00 / 2) (#97)
by simul on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:59:10 PM EST



Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Even old New York was once New Amsterdam (4.50 / 4) (#108)
by Katt on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:21:51 AM EST

And before it got renamed by the Brits, the Dutch called it something completely different.

[ Parent ]
Why they changed it, I can't say (4.33 / 6) (#133)
by edo on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:42:46 AM EST

(People just liked it better that way.)
-- 
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]
So, can we go back to Constantinople? (4.40 / 5) (#173)
by loucura on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:09:21 PM EST



[ Parent ]
No, You can't go back to Constantinople, (4.40 / 5) (#180)
by PowerPimp on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:41:28 PM EST


You'd better take care of me God; otherwise, you'll have me on your hands...
[ Parent ]
No! (4.00 / 3) (#198)
by Rocky on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:49:06 PM EST

Byzantium!

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]
But I have a date in Constantinople (4.00 / 3) (#219)
by rankor on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:47:24 PM EST



[ Parent ]
She'll be waiting in Istanbul (5.00 / 1) (#283)
by heteronym on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:45:17 PM EST

Or so I would assume.
 
-----
"When someone agrees with me, I always feel I must be wrong." --Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]
Why did Constantinople get the works? (4.25 / 4) (#242)
by Pseudonym on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:47:14 PM EST

Just curious.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
That's nobody's business but the Turks! (5.00 / 3) (#282)
by heteronym on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:44:32 PM EST

I suspect it was changed (back in the 15th century or so, I think) because Constantinople was a Greek name and Constantine was a Greek emperor.
 
-----
"When someone agrees with me, I always feel I must be wrong." --Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]
Roman Emperor, actually <nt> (5.00 / 1) (#344)
by Grognard on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:28:03 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Here I come, Constantinople (5.00 / 1) (#341)
by edo on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:45:03 AM EST

Here I come, Constantinople.
Here I come, Constantinople.
I am coming, Constantinople,
Here I come.

All the leaves are off of the oak and
All of the sheep have followed the spoken
Word. I'm coming
Constantinople.
Here I come.

So I stand out in the open.
All my friends are with you I hope and
Pray. I'm coming Constantinople.
Here I come.

Here I come, Constantinople.
Here I come, Constantinople.
I am coming, Constantinople,
Here I come.


-- 
Sentimentality is merely the Bank Holiday of cynicism.
 - Oscar Wilde
[ Parent ]
London Broil (4.60 / 5) (#157)
by RyoCokey on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:35:28 PM EST

...was invented in America. I say those foul-toothed bastards rename their city.



farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
[
Parent ]
And German Chocolate Cake (4.60 / 5) (#159)
by epepke on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:38:18 PM EST

Named after a guy in the US with a surname of German who started a company to make baking chocolate.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Dont forget Buffalo Wings! (5.00 / 3) (#221)
by rankor on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:53:49 PM EST

http://www.kitchenproject.com/history/AmericanHeritageRecipes/BuffaloWings.htm

[ Parent ]
Whatever (5.00 / 2) (#298)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:38:29 AM EST

This coming from the UK, a nation whose native cuisine is so horrid most civilized nations consider it a form of biological warfare. Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by most reputable historians as an act of necessity.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
Who really cares what we call our cheese? (2.16 / 6) (#96)
by simul on Sat Sep 13, 2003 at 10:56:06 PM EST

Sorry. I just don't care. Please explain why this matters at all?

It's not like you're talking about music, or science, or art... it's "brand names".

Meaningless corporate bullshit. Let them all sue each other over it. Big deal.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks

Answer (2.83 / 6) (#121)
by kitten on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:05:31 AM EST

Please explain why this matters at all?

Answer: It doesn't. It's just more barely-coherent, poorly-written tripe from one of the least literate buffoons who inhabit this site, rambling at nauseating length on a topic that has virtually zero impact on anything, will affect little, and that almost no one, save himself, cares about.


mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
hear, hear! (5.00 / 1) (#299)
by esrever on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:39:04 AM EST

Answer: It doesn't. It's just more barely-coherent, poorly-written tripe from one of the least literate buffoons who inhabit this site, rambling at nauseating length on a topic that has virtually zero impact on anything, will affect little, and that almost no one, save himself, cares about.

Indeed I agree. Witness the parent and grandparent posts for evidence of this trend.

Audit NTFS permissions on Windows
[ Parent ]
This was really interesting. (2.25 / 4) (#102)
by gr3y on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:23:55 AM EST

And the discussion so far has been exceptional. Thanks.

+1 FP.

I am a disruptive technology.

Yeah, ok... but (4.18 / 11) (#103)
by vyruss on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:28:01 AM EST

...you ever tried Danish "Greek" Feta cheese? I've been eating both for years and the Danes come nowhere near feta. These GIs are there to tell you what you are eating so that you will not eat Blue Cheese legally whey you order Roquefort.

  • PRINT CHR$(147)

"Product Of" labels (4.33 / 3) (#160)
by dcheesi on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:42:27 PM EST

That's what "Product Of ..." labels are for. Perhaps they don't have these elsewhere, but in the USA, you can say Feta cheese (Producto de Mexico) and everyone understands. I'm not sure if this claim is enforced or not, but assuming it is, it's a good way to resolve these naming issues.

[ Parent ]
Not enough (4.50 / 4) (#248)
by Toshio on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:21:06 PM EST

you can say Feta cheese (Producto de Mexico) and everyone understands

Risking to look like a troll... Understand what exactly? I understand that the product was made in Mexico, but nothing else. Is this Feta cheese made by original recipe? Is this something called Feta cheese, but made of cow milk? Is this something that tastes different than Greek Feta? What is there to be understood by "Producto de Mexico" labeling execept the country where the product was made. It might be enough for you, but I don't even nearly know what does Feta cheese (Producto de Mexico) means for my tastebuds. Judging by my experience, it could mean just about anything, ranging from "undistiguishable" to "completely different". Simply stating the country of origin is far from enough.

I would like all Feta cheeses to taste just like the Feta cheese that I can get from a farmer somewhere in greece. If you can't do this by using trademarks, something else should be thought of. GI list might be one answer (not even nearly good enough as it could be), but saying that country of origin suffices is simply wrong.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
Umm, "Product of Greece"? (4.50 / 2) (#365)
by Jack McCoy on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:40:31 AM EST

I would like all Feta cheeses to taste just like the Feta cheese that I can get from a farmer somewhere in greece.

So look for "Feta Cheese (Made in Greece)".  Shop around for the best brand.  If you're a real cheese fan, look for a speciaty cheese store.  Decide for yourself which one is the best.  Why does the WTO (and thus the (highly-undemocratic) EU) need to make these decisions for you?
-- Jack
[ Parent ]

Still not enough for me (5.00 / 1) (#379)
by Toshio on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:51:02 PM EST

I agree with everything you say, but I would still add another nugget to the mix:

So look for "Feta Cheese (Made in Greece)".

The problem is thqt the "Greece" part isn't sufficient either. Even if particular chees happens to be made in Greece and called Feta, it still doesn't mean it tastes like traditional Feta. On the other hand some Feta cheese that is made in Mexico can be same (in all attributes that define it) as traditional, but could not be called Feta any more as it is not made in Greece. GI list is one way (certainly not the brightest or soundest) to solve the part of foreign differently tasting products, but it will create problems for those producers that are making the real thing, but are not suitably located in Greece.

Apart from this nugget I agree with your assesment: if one cares, one can make sure it gets the real thing, EU or WTO (or USA for that matter) have no business telling me what is allowed for me and what is not. At the same time I hope that you could agree with me on the point that there is a problem with naming products in a way that is misleading (Cheddar that is not Cheddar, Feta that is not Feta, ...). Fair (IMHO) solution would be not to tie such product name to some particular geographical region, but rather to particular definig qualities of the product. I think this would solve the problem, since it would leave the market free, establish the protocols to use certain names, and enable me to skip the hunt for speciality store that maybe even doesn't exist in the town I'm in right now. It would also sovle the problem of remembering all the particular cheeseries that happen to produce the real thing. I might like my cheese, but I would rather skip becoming the cheese (cheesy :)) expert. Yes I know, I would like to have my cake AND eat it.

GI lists are wrong, a agree with that, but I think we are free to debate about the alternatives if they are needed. In my opinion they are needed, but YMMV.

---


--- To boldly invent more hot water ---
[ Parent ]
Too Much (5.00 / 1) (#403)
by thejeff on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:41:07 PM EST

But that's not what the GI list would do. It wouldn't allow for feta's that meet all the quality standards, but weren't made in Greece, or just in a particular region in Greece. (Is Feta even a place? Does this rule actually apply to Feta? Regardless the principle applies.)

If the Feta is as good do you care if it comes from Greece? If it's not, does it help if it does actually come from Greece? It sounds like what you really want is quality controls.

[ Parent ]

so what? it's only a name. (2.66 / 3) (#125)
by dimaq on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:04:39 AM EST

I agree it may be a little weird to think of "basmati rice" as any sort of rice produced only in placed where Hindi is spoken, as opposed to "that longish thin kind of rice".

That makes the proposal a bit silly, doesn't it? On the other hand there are names like Champaigne, which are specific to the origin of the product.

I don't think it makes all that much difference though - only something like nostalgia vs. modernity.

Whisky? (3.83 / 6) (#128)
by Echo5ive on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:35:53 AM EST

I'm wondering... is "whisky" generic enough to allow it to be produced outside of Scotland?

Also, here in Sweden, "pilsner" is a pretty generic slang word for any light beer. Can we keep using that, or does the EU have to patch our language to remove such doubleplus ungood words?



--
Frozen Skies: mental masturbation.

Pilsner (4.40 / 5) (#140)
by Betcour on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:28:11 AM EST

Also, here in Sweden, "pilsner" is a pretty generic slang word for any light beer. Can we keep using that, or does the EU have to patch our language to remove such doubleplus ungood words?

The EU doesn't care if you call a light beer a "wakazoozabooogoooatadakt" or whatever you fancy. The labelling and packaging of the product, however, are regulated.

[ Parent ]

Whiskey comes from other countries (4.00 / 2) (#143)
by lens flare on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:57:33 AM EST

Whiskey comes from different countries, e.g. Irish whiskey.  But the Irish in the whiskey is like the cheddar in the cheese - cheese and whiskey are too general to be under the law I think.  However, I think you couldn't sell Irish whiskey made in Sweden!

[ Parent ]
Mackmya, anyone? (5.00 / 1) (#322)
by gruk on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:39:56 AM EST

Well, one will b able to buy Swedish whiskey from Mackmyra Bruk, once it's old enough to be sold.

[ Parent ]
Yes and no. (4.75 / 4) (#147)
by it certainly is on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:31:37 AM EST

There are many distilled spirit drinks on the market. Many of them have the name 'whisky'. For example, Irish Whiskey (note spelling) from Ireland, or Bourbon Whisky from Bourbon County, Kentucky. But they are not 'Scotch Whisky'.

'Scotch Whisky' is a protected name. To use the name, you must actually distill your whisky in Scotland, with Scottish water, Scottish peat, Scottish barley, Scottish air. If this is too much difficulty for you, simply do not call your drink 'Scotch Whisky'. Call it something else. Consumers looking for authentic Scotch Whisky, which is wholly produced Scotland, will not be deceived.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

There are rules for Scotch whisky (4.33 / 3) (#152)
by Qoumran on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:20:51 PM EST

'Scotch Whisky' is a protected name. To use the name, you must actually distill your whisky in Scotland, with Scottish water, Scottish peat, Scottish barley, Scottish air. If this is too much difficulty for you, simply do not call your drink 'Scotch Whisky'. Call it something else. Consumers looking for authentic Scotch Whisky, which is wholly produced Scotland, will not be deceived.

The rules of Scotch whisky are maintained by the Scotch Whisky Association. From what I hear they are quite strict about them.



[ Parent ]
Bourbon (5.00 / 1) (#164)
by Ludwig on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:03:06 PM EST

Funny, I was just talking to a bartender about this last night: Bourbon is not a geographic indicator according to U.S. law (except that it must be made domestically.) The name does indicate a whiskey made according to a specific process, though.

[ Parent ]
The Big Mac comparison. (3.88 / 9) (#130)
by Confusion on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:40:01 AM EST

McDonalds buys its ingredients everywhere in the world, but only when they put them together, it's a Big Mac. I am not allowed to call my product, with the same ingredients, a Big Mac.

Parma ham, Cheddar cheese, etc. are brand names, not adjectives describing a kind of product. The names indicate where and by whom the ham was produced and by what process.

Your argument would allow every fast-food chain in the world to call their burger a Big Mac. Now surely you understand why that is against the law?

Parma ham only comes from Parma. How do they manage to export so much of it you ask? They buy pigs in The Netherlands, they slaughter them in Parma, dry their hams en then sell the ham to the world. Is that silly? Yes. Is it logical? Yes, because it is a brand.
--
Any resemblance between the above and reality is purely coincidental.
i'm not convinced... (4.33 / 3) (#132)
by jolt rush soon on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:40:47 AM EST

...that cheddar cheese is a brand name.
--
Subosc — free electronic music.
[ Parent ]
Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#253)
by mrchaotica on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:02:14 PM EST

I've never even SEEN "Cheddar"-brand cheddar cheese!

[ Parent ]
Generification (4.00 / 2) (#138)
by ShadowNode on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:41:34 AM EST

There's an adendum to trademark law that says if a brand becomes the accepted, generic name of a certian style of product, the trademark is voided.

[ Parent ]
There are ways to circumvent that addendum (4.00 / 2) (#144)
by Confusion on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:00:29 AM EST

If the owner of a brand regularly complains to the media about misuse of its brand name, the above addendum does not apply.

But I have to admit that it is a relevant point: I suppose no one has ever officially complained about the use of 'Cheddar cheese'. Still, to me it sounds absurd for someone to sell 'Icelandic wine' that was created in California, from Californian grapes. I don't see an easy and elegant way to distinguish between the two. I think the easiest way by far is to leave it to the manufacturer to advertise his product as 'equal to', 'made following the same process', etc. without using the name.
--
Any resemblance between the above and reality is purely coincidental.
[ Parent ]
Yes, but it's a few centuries too late for cheddar (4.33 / 3) (#171)
by ShadowNode on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:04:56 PM EST

Most people outside wherever that's originally from are completely unaware of cheddar as anything other than a form of cheese. Though you have a point about Icelandic wine, as it hasn't surpassed the nation in the public consciousness. Cheddar, Parma, and Champagne, IMHO, are far too late though.

[ Parent ]
The problema are globalisation and consumerism (3.50 / 2) (#329)
by Confusion on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 07:19:53 AM EST

I think the main problem is that all these product existed long before globalisation and the global brand importance that brought with it. The producers in the region simply never thought about patenting the production method and registering the product name as a brand; who ever thought someone else, in another country none the less, would want to produce a beverage and sell it as 'Champagne'?

The name implies a certain quality and it raises the expectation of that quality in the buyer. If some producer of lousy wine started to sell it as 'Champagne', the sales of real 'Champagne' might be hurt in a couple of years. People are dumb and will think of 'lousy wine' when they hear 'Champagne' and not understand why people speak so highly of it.

I think it would seriously hurt sales of real Champagne if everyone was free to name their product Champagne and that the replacing products would be inferior.
--
Any resemblance between the above and reality is purely coincidental.
[ Parent ]
Hollywood, take note! (3.00 / 5) (#131)
by Echo5ive on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:44:09 AM EST

In Europe, our teen movies have actual teens in them.

--
Frozen Skies: mental masturbation.

Woo! (5.00 / 2) (#205)
by Stickerboy on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:00:14 PM EST

Yeah, in Europe, they take pride in how <B>realistic</B> they can be with their overcommercialized mindless entertainment!

Teen movies with real teens in them!  Aimed at the <B>discriminating</B> teen movie fan.

[ Parent ]

Yeah! Those dirty EUians! +1! (2.50 / 4) (#136)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:02:53 AM EST

They won't get their hands on my authentic Samoan-Italian pizza!

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

Distribution could be a problem for Mars bars. (4.62 / 24) (#139)
by onealone on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:27:10 AM EST



ROFL! :o) (3.66 / 3) (#142)
by lens flare on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:52:59 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Re: Distribution could be a problem for Mars bars. (4.00 / 5) (#151)
by gidds on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:15:58 PM EST

[fx: Snickers]

Andy/
[ Parent ]
i18n (4.20 / 5) (#175)
by Vulch on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:11:34 PM EST

Good job they stopped calling Snickers Marathons, though no doubt they could have opened a production line in Greece.

Anthony

[ Parent ]

Two advantages to GIs (4.45 / 11) (#141)
by Betcour on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:49:52 AM EST

One point that has been overlooked here is that GIs allow many farmers and producers to concentrate on quality rather than quantity and/or marketing. This is a significant advantage if the western farmers are to loose their subsidies : they can give up on mass-production where they aren't competitive, and move to quality, GIs labeled, products.

Also, should a farmer from Congo decide to do quality Congo Famous Potato, he can do it without the risk of having a megacorporation driving him out of business by selling cheap imitation grown in south-America.

Local Protectionism (5.00 / 1) (#454)
by Rich0 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:38:42 PM EST

Are you suggesting that Pfizer should be able to market genuine Pearl River atorvastatin, and that nobody else should be able to make a drug under the same name or any part - ever?

If the Congo farmer comes up with a swell way of making potatos he should get patent protection for a few years.  After that, what's wrong with giving some jobs to the poor South Americans?  And if the imitation is just as good as the original, why should anyone care who made it?  Surely you aren't suggesting that every product be made by a monopoly?

If we extended IP rights to a product type for a hundred generations, the 3rd world would be in even more trouble than it is already - it would be illegal to make just about anything.

[ Parent ]

Well, there goes the 'Hamburger." (3.25 / 4) (#145)
by shtock on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:03:43 AM EST

And the "Frunkfurter."

Both fine American traditions.

And Wieners (aka Vienna sausages) (5.00 / 2) (#156)
by dcheesi on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:34:18 PM EST

And wiener-schnitzel, and Canadian bacon. What about general names, eg. Thai food? And if the town of Sandwich, England hears about this, we'll really be in trouble!

Fortunately our Liberty Fries are safe ;)

[ Parent ]

Liberty fries not safe (2.66 / 3) (#201)
by Daelin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:53:16 PM EST

The question is, does Liberty, New York or Liberty, Kansas have prior claim to Liberty Fries?

[ Parent ]
Aha! (3.50 / 6) (#153)
by awgsilyari on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:25:38 PM EST

I always knew the next world war would be caused by cheese!

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
Losing the Fromage Arms Race! (4.33 / 3) (#158)
by dcheesi on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:36:30 PM EST

Ack! We must invest billions in cheese production now, before the French overrun us with their 250+ varieties! :)

[ Parent ]
French Neutron Cheese? [n/t] (4.00 / 3) (#161)
by epepke on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:49:34 PM EST


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
The French Cheese Gap? (n/t) (4.00 / 3) (#207)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:10:13 PM EST


--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
no Gap is a USian company [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#274)
by martingale on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:57:10 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Reasonable rules already exist (3.00 / 6) (#162)
by dcheesi on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:54:05 PM EST

As the poster suggests, existing trademark rules are the appropriate way to handle these situations. If "parmesan" has come into common use, it's simply too late to try to trademark it here. However, if Chilean farmers feels strongly enough about their high-quality artichokes, they can trademark "Chilean Artichokes" no problem (assuming their organized, of course). Trademark rules are remarkably well developed for this sort thing.

As for verifying country of origin, a separate "Product of Italy" label makes that clear without interfering with common-sense food-names. Maybe you could even regulate the use of the word "real" in connection with these names, eg. "Real Parmesan Cheese"?

'Geographic Indications' are not just trademarks (4.76 / 25) (#163)
by atomico on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 12:59:10 PM EST

GIs, called 'Appellation d'origine controlée' in France, 'Denominación de origen' in Spain, and otherwise in every other EU country, are not just a trademark for a product: they are backed by a government-sponsored quality control and are linked to an specific geographical area PLUS quite strict rules on how the product can be harvested/made.

Their usefulness is not just akin to trademarks; they are often an attempt to preserve particular lifestyles in some rural areas and are mostly used by small-to-medium sized producers that gain further recognition than would be attainable by stamping different trademarks.

Currently, a small producer of high-quality 'Priorat' wine, or 'Manchego' cheese, is able to put its small quantity of high quality goods without fear of being drowned by the low-quality, high quantity produce of a big corporation, whose labels would be indistinguishable in a supermarket shelf.

I am totally against agricultural subsidies, and one of the few survival chances of family rural businesses are through production of low volume, high quality goods such as guaranteed by GIs.

Bah. (4.00 / 5) (#189)
by JatTDB on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:07:26 PM EST

Whether we're talking wine, cheese, rice, or whatever product you can imagine to have this sort of policy applied to it, the general public wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the "good stuff" and the Kraft version.  Why do you think the mass produced varieties of such products sell so well?  It's at a price point that's more acceptable to the consumer and it's good enough for their purposes.  The name is meaningless to everyone except the backward fucks who can't deal with the fact that most people just don't give a damn if their cheese was made by a family that's been doing it for 400 years or if it was made in a 20 ton batch in a factory.

Wannabe and true gourmets will always be willing to pay a premium price for premium goods.  If someone is producing something that truly is the best of its class and they can't find a way to sell it, maybe that someone needs to invest in a good marketing team.

[ Parent ]

Indeed, (5.00 / 1) (#309)
by fhotg on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:33:27 AM EST

it is a problem to sell high quality food. This is because most people these days pay very little attention to the true quality and taste of what they put into their bodies. Now the goal here is not to change people without taste and style, but to get name-believing wannabes to support quality food-production. Not for the sake of some gourmet-minority, but for the positive social, economic and environmental effects of smallscale - high-quality food production.

Giving way to the "free-market" which is dominated by tastebudless morons who can't tell Champagne from cheap white with bubbles would kill these buisinesses in no time.
~~~
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

[ Parent ]

It is forbidden to misguide the customer (4.00 / 3) (#328)
by Confusion on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 07:07:23 AM EST

The name is meaningless to everyone except the backward fucks who can't deal with the fact that most people just don't give a damn if their cheese was made by a family that's been doing it for 400 years or if it was made in a 20 ton batch in a factory.

... about the quality of their product. Well, good for them, but I don't see why that justifies some producer of lousy cheese naming his cheese the same as the high quality cheese produced by a specific process guaranteeing the quality.

If someone is producing something that truly is the best of its class and they can't find a way to sell it, maybe that someone needs to invest in a good marketing team. If someone is truly producing the best its class and they are selling it, but some producer of lousy cheese names his cheese the same, because they want to sell their lousy cheese, then that violates brand copyright. Roquefort is made under certain strict conditions. It is irrelevant that Roquefort happens to be the name of a city in France, where the process was originally invented. It has become the name of the product and in that way it has become the brand. The fact that there is also a city by that name and the cheese happens to originate from there is entirely irrelevant.

You could name your next product 'Ethiopian cheese', 'Pittsburg cheese' or 'Europe cheese' for all I care, as long as you don't name it Roquefort, Edammer cheese or Cheddar. If you want to sell your cheese as 'equivalent to Cheddar', then you should hire a good marketing team.
--
Any resemblance between the above and reality is purely coincidental.
[ Parent ]
Easier solution than all this crap: (5.00 / 1) (#349)
by JatTDB on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:34:25 AM EST

Stick "Genuine" and "Made in ***** by ***** who have been doing this for NNN years" on it.  Make a truly unique brand name that has not fallen into common use, copyright that, and use that.  Here's a nice, simple template for those family owned ones:  "(Your Last Name) Family (What You Make)."  Hey, I know in the US those who are or wish to appear fancy or otherwise upper class eat that shit up, regardless of price point.  And it doesn't require forcing every other manufacturer of similar stuff to start using clumsy workarounds like "equivalent to Cheddar".  Jesus, man, that sounds like when my boss says my salary is computed such that it is "equivalent" to a reasonable amount of overtime pay.  People might stop buying (as much of) the mass-produced or otherwise not "authentic" varieties, but they'd be doing it because you're putting a *negative* mark on those products.  Why should it receive such a punishment when all the producer has tried to do is bring the general taste and style to a price level the consumer can afford?  Put positives on the good stuff...much more elegant solution.

For the vast majority of cases being discussed, the name of the cheese or the wine or what have you has been in common usage for years.  Nobody expects all Parmesan cheese to come from Parma.  All they expect is a cheese with a color, texture, and taste that is at least reminiscent of the style of cheese which originated there.  That's all.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, but what if it *is* the same? (5.00 / 1) (#425)
by tjb on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:34:39 AM EST

Roquefort describes a type/style of cheese made in France, not a particular brand of cheese.  "Henri's Roquefort Cheese" would be an example of a brand, "Roquefort Cheese" is not.

Let's say a French cheese maker makes a slice of cheese.  Now, let's say that I make an exact copy of that cheese in a chemical plant in New Jersey.  And, for argument's sake, when I say *exact*, I mean the Pauli Exclusion Principle will prevent our respective slices of cheese from being in the same room together without catastrophic effects on the rest of the universe.

Now, why isn't my cheese Roquefort?  Its the same in every possbile way except that it was made in New Jersey and it is probably cheaper.  But really, why do you care where its made if its the same product?  Or what about if it is better?

Not that I would ever eat Roquefort cheese - I prefer a Philly cheese steak with a healthy dose of Cheese Whiz myself.  And I don't give a damn where the Cheese Whiz was made, it still kicks the ass of any other cheese on the planet.  And I also don't care where the cheese-steak is made as long as they use cheese whiz. :)

Tim

[ Parent ]

Perhaps because (5.00 / 1) (#437)
by Viliam Bur on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:21:16 AM EST

when I make an exact copy of Coca Cola, I am not allowed to call it "Coca Cola" too. (And I am in doubt about an "equivalent to Coca Cola", especially if the words "equivalent to" would be printed in very small letters.)

That's the way trademarks go.

[ Parent ]

sorry, this argument was already used (5.00 / 1) (#439)
by Viliam Bur on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:29:46 AM EST

here

[ Parent ]
Yet another IP snafu... (3.66 / 3) (#165)
by skyknight on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:06:46 PM EST

I've long been a staunch supporter of intellectual property rights, but it's such a messy topic as to prove quite depressing at times. As this century unfolds, I think it will prove to be an intractable problem. Instead of the winners being scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, those who take the spoils of war will be lawyers and the people who can successfully game a system where there are no hard and fast rules.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Snafu for sure (4.50 / 2) (#197)
by Daelin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:47:07 PM EST

The “frontier” article in modsub had an interesting idea: That possession of IP should be taxed, if the holder is not the creator. That is, there would be an inhibition against stockpiling IP and not publicizing (profiting) it, and an impetus to transfer IP to other people after using it.

The specifics of such a tax system would be arbitrary and probably injust most of the time. I think taxation of possession is, as a rule, crap. However, as game theory goes, this idea is spot on: The idea is to proliferate IP for the common good; taxing action/transaction would inhibit this, so it's not an option. An impetus needs to exist, because the current IP system promotes hoarding, and hoarders stand to benefit by attacking users of hoarded rights. That's ass-backards Wrong™.



[ Parent ]
While we're taxing stuff for behavioral purposes (4.50 / 2) (#203)
by skyknight on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:35:29 PM EST

I vote for a highway lane changing tax. We could both pay for the roads and fix traffic jams all at once. The trick, of course, is assessing the fees. One interesting possibility is satellite cartography and GPS.

And yes, I am not officially off-topic.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
just get rid of lanes (4.50 / 2) (#236)
by Daelin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:09:31 PM EST

If changing lanes were a problem, we could just get rid of lanes, or put concerete medians between lanes except at regular optional merge points. Changing lanes is not a cause of traffic jams.

The problem I commonly see are people moving slower than the flow of traffic in the leftward lanes. These people truely must be blind, because traffic parts around them on both the right and the left. When there is congestion, there isn't room for traffic to part around these people, so the entire flow of traffic slows down. I also observe that these are the same people who slow down to change into same-speed or faster moving traffic, and the same people who slow down when merging from an on-ramp.

Aside: How much room do you need to merge into traffic moving at the same speed? Two car lengths. (Safely: five seconds) How much room do you need to merge into fast moving traffic from a near stop? Between a quarter and a full mile. (45-90 seconds) These people slow down, increasing the margin they need to merge, insuring a long wait for onramp traffic and forcing everyone behind into the same situation.

Anyhow, I think the problem is a poor highway driving education. Virginia and Maryland, for instance, have piss poor highway drivers. In Houston, highway driving is half the driver's ed course, and you WILL be penalized for hazardous merging. Houston highway traffic usually runs about 80mph on average, but unlike East-coast highways, the left lane is always the fast/pass lane. If you're in the left lane, you're going to be on that road for a while, and you are expected to go about 15 over the posted speed limit (generally, 85mph) to keep up. You will be pulled over and ticketed for going slower than the flow of traffic. Consequently, Houston highways only rarely have traffic jams. People from out of state are usually shocked at how "dangerous" Houstonians drive, but they also have a much lower percentage of highway accidents.



[ Parent ]
Houston has no traffic jams?! (4.33 / 3) (#239)
by QillerPenguin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:35:56 PM EST

> Consequently, Houston highways only rarely have traffic jams. People from out of state are usually shocked at how "dangerous" Houstonians drive

I was born and raised in Houston until 1989, when I move to Central Florida. From the late 70's to the day I moved out, the intersection of the SW Freeway and the Loop 610 West would start to jam up around 3:30 or so, and stay jammed until well past 7:00. There was the jammed intersection of I-10 and the Loop, and I-45 going thru downtown, and that large morass of highways east of downtown. Just last year, I visited going out 290 to Hwy 6, and was shocked that even with more lanes, there was even more cars jamming it up.

As for dangerous drivers, try along I-4 thru Orlando. Houston drivers are wimps in comparison.


"All your Unix are belong to us" - SCO, 2003.
[ Parent ]

1997-2001 (4.66 / 3) (#243)
by Daelin on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:49:34 PM EST

I lived in the Klein area, north Houston, from '97 to 2000/2001. That tropical storm that flooded downtown came in the day I left. Most of my commutes were on I-45. Most of the highways either have been or were being rebuilt since 1989. I-45 is a pretty pleasant drive these days—especially on the north. I ran into traffic jams on the south side of I-45—they were always a sort of wave of everyone stopping for a moment and starting moving again.

I got rear-ended by someone who didn't see the wave coming.



[ Parent ]
fast lane counterpoint (4.50 / 2) (#257)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:07:28 PM EST

In Southern California, everybody goes 80+ and there are still huge traffic jams.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
The causes of traffic jams... (4.50 / 2) (#289)
by skyknight on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:10:58 AM EST

There are actually several factors that contribute to traffic jams. The chief ones that I see are poor highway design, stupid drivers, and the non-rigidity of having independent cars.

Poor design manifests itself in myriad ways, including but not limited to bad exit location, HOV lanes that require traversing several lanes to enter, and inadequate numbers of lanes.

Driver stupidity includes such behaviors as lane changing in jammed up traffic in a futile attempt to get into the perceived faster lane, not understanding appropriate following distances, driving at inappropriately slow speeds, and rubber necking at accident scenes.

By non-rigidity, which in my mind is the biggest factor, I refer to the fact that cars are disconnected from one another, as opposed to railway cars which are linked and thus move in almost perfect concert. When a railway locomotive moves forward, all of the attached cars move forward more or less instantly with it. On a highway, each car is operating independently with a distinct controlling agent (driver). The effect of this is a wasteful compression-expansion cycle that inevitable occurs in stop and go traffic. When traffic comes to a stop, it compresses. When the lead car in a block moves, the car behind it experiences a lag of a few moments before it moves, as a result of the fact that the driver is waiting for a distance to open up which he deems safe. Each subsequent car operates in the same way. The effect looks a lot like a slinky, as the delay is propagated through the line. If each driver waits two seconds after the car in front of him starts moving, then it's going to take ten cars twenty seconds to get moving again.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Old technique (2.18 / 11) (#167)
by bankind on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 01:26:38 PM EST

Actually if you want the best example of how this shit is pulled off look at the US Catfish dispute with Vietnam. Where a fish smelling, tasting and looking like a catfish was declared not a catfish by the Department of Commerce. But there the issue was regarding a market (the US) being destroyed by the more efficient Vietnamese farmers, who lack WTO membership and thus institutional protection by that agreement.

This example is more a mark of the dying nature of state based cultures in Europe. All the heritage is washing up into this leather pant clad, spiky-bleached-hair, elitist wanker called EUROTRASH. The only item of national identity that will exist in 20 years, will be some national figure on the back of their coins. Fuck'em they want to spend all their resources on protecting their dying industries, let `em. The countries that are going to succeed in the future are the ones with the most flexible labor forces, and embraces the creative destruction of trade and immigration. No country seems capable of doing that (but I would make an limited exception for Hong Kong, Singapore and a couple other East Asian countries). Just don't be shocked when your grandchildren are studying an Asiatic language in grammar school, because the western empires will be homogenized. Sorry, that's evolution.

But anyway this reminds me of a constant argument I have over whether Pizza has become a part of American cuisine. Most pizza places I've been outside of the US and Europe always go for a American pizza parlor atmosphere and typically serve hamburgers. And well, frankly that is the power of American culture that the Europeans so fear. Our early acceptance of various cultures resulted in a people that are far more accepting than some tight ass that only eats pizza in New York. We cut people out of our market when it is to our advantage (in money or politics), Europeans seem more inclined to do so as a result of their backwards monarchy heritage.

Great article, but the first title was best.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman

I thought the point of the EU was to (4.20 / 5) (#202)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:00:44 PM EST

get rid of that silly national identity thing so as to make it easier to bring the people under one dictator.

[ Parent ]
You misunderstand. (4.00 / 4) (#280)
by it certainly is on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:36:59 PM EST

The EU exists because most European countries hate America, and are willing to band together to crush it. They haven't let Russia and China in... yet.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

but that is not correct (3.66 / 3) (#293)
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:43:43 AM EST

most of Europe like America, France and Germany are the ones that hate it.

and just wait, France, Germany and Russia are positioning themselfs to take over Europe.

[ Parent ]

Funny (none / 0) (#522)
by influx on Sat Sep 27, 2003 at 11:52:23 PM EST

Not much of a change for Germany and Russia, I guess France finally got sick of getting invaded by Germany and decided it was better to be on the other side for once.

---
The more you know, the less you understand.
[ Parent ]
Dangerous comment (5.00 / 1) (#402)
by tetsuwan on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:25:45 PM EST

some dimwit could take it for true!

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

catfish (5.00 / 3) (#206)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:03:59 PM EST

(There was two editorial comments I wrote already about Vietnamese catfish.)

The key difference is in where the GIs are being forced to apply. We don't object to GIs in the EU. They can do whatever they want over there, and since it is closed to home, they probably care more. The legislation preventing tra and kasa from being called catfish (it actually makes it so the North American species is the only one called catfish) is domestic legislation. We are not telling the rest of the world how to label their food.

There are also issues of scope. The catfish legislation is one special interest group getting ahold of somebody's ear in Congress. The GIs are much larger in scope.

Also, there were allegations of dumping and so far I am not clear on if it was just because of the quick growth rate (apparently tra grow something like twice as fast) or from some other government induced distortion.

I had to change the title and tone it down a little or this would have been my fourth article to get rejected in a row by those that think I bash Europe too much.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

100% right (5.00 / 1) (#364)
by bankind on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:39:48 AM EST

Sorry missed the editorial comments (currently in the Nam and a bit off in regards to K5 timing).

the final story of the catfish tale was a 4-0 vote in favor of the dumping charges, but it was all americans making the judicial decisions.

The dumping charges were made because in a situation where an economy is labeled "non-market," the US does a study with a third country to determine a world market ("fair") price, in the Vietnam case India. Of course India and Vietnam are not at all similar in economic structure, and prices in Vietnam where deemed 68% below world price.

But the moral of the story in the Vietnam case is that without membership in the WTO, domestic countries will bully the shit out of ya.

The real story in Cancun is the rise of the g22, which might put a stop to this foolishness.

And finally, can Europe be bashed too much? If they want to play with the big boy, then they better get used to it.


"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

reference? (5.00 / 1) (#428)
by jjayson on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:24:41 AM EST

The dumping charges were made because in a situation where an economy is labeled "non-market," the US does a study with a third country to determine a world market ("fair") price, in the Vietnam case India. Of course India and Vietnam are not at all similar in economic structure, and prices in Vietnam where deemed 68% below world price.
Do you have a reference for this (book, periodical, webpage, etc.)? Mostly about how the fair market price is determined to ajudicate dumping charges for non-market economies, but specific to this case wouldn't be bad either.
_______
Smile =)
Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by mo
[ Parent ]
no problem (5.00 / 1) (#479)
by bankind on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:02:49 PM EST

here and it also says 64%.

I've seen better articles on lexus-nexus, but I no longer have access. You a trade economist? You watching this shrimp issue?

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

No (5.00 / 1) (#480)
by jjayson on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:16:13 PM EST

I was just curious about how any dumping charges were determined for non-market economies (not these specifically). Right now, I do economic research for a Washington group, but this isn't related to it (well, tangentially it is I guess).

I have access to Lexis/Nexis, so I'll search there too. Thanks.

_______
Smile =)
Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by mo
[ Parent ]

Baloney (3.66 / 3) (#169)
by Ray Chason on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:04:36 PM EST

Could baloney -- Bologna sausage -- still be called that?

--
The War on Terra is not meant to be won.
Delendae sunt RIAA, MPAA et Windoze
It's just a name. (5.00 / 2) (#179)
by shokk on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:31:27 PM EST

People misspell these things anyway, so if balogna sausage can only come from Balogna Italy, then we just call it Baloney and most won't notice. I understand their idea is that the people who originally created the product are now being ripped by knock-off brands. No different than any other trademark. Their ancenstors created it and they want to continue to benefit. Don't fret, other countries can claim quite a few inventions under its belt so wait until the US renames a town Computer, Telephone, or Television. Sure those farmers are going to have their Basmati, but they are not thinking about the other things around them that can be stripped from manufacture in their country. After all, who else can make a real sandwich but someone from the Earl of Sandwich's family?
"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master."
[ Parent ]
No worries (3.66 / 3) (#170)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:04:38 PM EST

We can still get our Parmasean (sp?) cheese and Parma ham from New York.

Can't any industry simply pick a town of 1000 or something, and pay them to change their name to Cheddar, Feta, Champagne, whatever?

city name (5.00 / 1) (#332)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 07:30:52 AM EST

Under Europeans rules, even if a city is called Champagne and has produced local wine for centuries (like 10, not 2), it is prohibited from using the protected Champagne word.

[ Parent ]
Basmati rice (4.70 / 20) (#177)
by gyan on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:23:55 PM EST

The reason why India objected to the 'basmati' thing is because some American company patented(!!) the rice production method itself.

According to the BBC, "in the worst case scenario, poor [Indian] farmers could even end up being obliged to pay royalties to the [American] patent holder on a product their forebears had grown for generations."

********************************

Yep (4.00 / 3) (#188)
by The Solitaire on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:01:16 PM EST

I also heard that somewhere. What's funny is that American basmati is terrible. I always check the label before I buy my rice. Same goes for jasmine rice, the Thai stuff is vastly superior, IMHO.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Sigh (3.75 / 4) (#182)
by jd on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:43:43 PM EST

This is a consequence of the French opposing, about ten years ago, companies making clones of their wines. The Spanish joined in the lawsuits, I sseem to remember.

The "traditional" British concept was much simpler. Foods were named after the process by which they were made. Thus, "Cheddar" cheese could be made by anyone, but it had to be made using the same ingredients and same method as any other "Cheddar" cheese.

We use the same method in IT, all the time. A PC doesn't have to be made in the same town as an IBM manufacturing plant. It just has to conform to the specifications we generally understand to constitute a PC.

Here we get to the crunch, though. In foods, drinks and pharmacuticals, "clones" are rarely even remotely close. Even identical manufacturers have different versions of the same product, under the same label. (Compare "mint nicorette" or "diet pepsi" in Britain with the supposedly identical product by the same respective manufacturer in the USA. They're so utterly different, it's not funny.)

The main complaint the USA has about cheap pharmacutical imports (the real one may be the loss of money, but I'm talking their verbally expressed complaint) is that there's no regulation, so quality may suffer.

(Of course, the vast stockpile of patents and trade secrets have nothing to do with this, right?)

But back to food. Some standardization is very obviously necessary. This doesn't mean everyone has to produce the same thing, only that common terms should have common meanings.

I don't agree that the meaning should be about place. Place doesn't change a thing. I don't care if you brew Port in England, Portugal or Timbuktu, so long as you end up with the same class of drink, and some indication of difference is given.

Some places are no longer identifiable. We don't know where the ancient Greeks first brewed Mead, for example. Should Mead merit less protection, because of lousy record-keeping? Or should we simply say "ok, Mead is made from these ingredients, using this process, producing this class of result"?

And if we can do that for some products (indeed, have to), then why have different rules for others? If someone in Switzerland made a hole-free cheese, why should it have the name "swiss cheese"? It's not the same thing any more.

People have survived in Britain with these rules without obvious harm. Spreddable Cheddar-like cheeses exist in significant number. They call them Cheddar-like or Cheddar-ish, demonstrating that it is very possible to protect a label AND produce a derivative AND show that derivation.

Yes, my proposal would require just as many regulators, but they'd be concerned with quality and nature, not locality. IMHO, if you're going to have regulators, they may as well regulate something useful.

Place and Process (4.75 / 4) (#187)
by The Solitaire on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:59:39 PM EST

I don't think that process and place are entirely separate things. While this may be true for some products, it is doubtful when it comes to wine and beer, at least.

For wine, the area in which the grapes are grown actually makes a difference in the flavour of the final product. According to an article I read some time ago in Scientific American (I think it was SciAm anyways), the composition of the soil actually makes a difference in the flavour of the grapes, and subsequently the wine itself. Similarly, the water source used for beer has an influence on the flavour of the beer.

I suppose if a wine maker was going to import grapes from Bordeaux, or water from the Czech republic, then the process could still be the same. I doubt very much that many producers would like this option, due to the costs involved.

I want to stress that for some things, this is obviously not much of a consideration. The effects of location are small, but in certain areas (e.g. fine wine) they do have an effect. In others, probably little to none.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

End Result, not Place or Process (4.66 / 3) (#190)
by Scott A. Wood on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 03:39:59 PM EST

It seems rather silly that someone in Pilsen could produce a stout and call it a Pilsner (barring local laws to the contrary), but someone in Germany who produces something that fits well within the generally recognized parameters of what a pilsner is would have to make up a new name for it, thus confusing customers who know of what they're looking for as "pilsner", not whatever the new name is.

Yes, the water has an impact, but the only relevance of that is the effect it has on the end product. If another place happened to have sufficiently similar water, or if the brewery were willing to produce Pilsen-ish water through distillation, reverse osmosis, etc., why should geography enter the picture? Instead of obnoxious protection of regionally-derived adjectives, why not just judge the end product to see if it matches the notions of what that adjective means, in the particular market in which the product is being sold?

If you really, really want a Pilsner from Pilsen, as opposed to the broader class of beers called Pilsner, all you need to do is look for a statement to the effect of "Brewed in Pilsen, Czech Republic". Such statements of fact can be enforced with much fewer problems than effectively trademarking things which have been common adjectives for a long time.

[ Parent ]

I agree (5.00 / 2) (#241)
by The Solitaire on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:45:06 PM EST

I was pointing out that location does have seomthing to do with it. My general stance is that we don't need geographic rules for products that haven't been protected in the past, but for those products that have (e.g. Champagne) there is no need to remove the current restrictions.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Stilton ? (5.00 / 1) (#281)
by iwnbap on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:37:49 PM EST

It's not a British thing to separate manufacture and region.  Stilton cheese can only be produced an a specific region.

[ Parent ]
I'm afraid you're wrong (5.00 / 2) (#304)
by Wildgoose on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 02:31:56 AM EST

I'm from Yorkshire, and there was a bit of a fuss a few years back at talk of the manufacture of Wensleydale cheese moving from Wensleydale (Yorkshire) and into Lancashire.

The fact that such a thing is possible shows that you are actually wrong. It's the process that matters, not the place.

[ Parent ]

Swiss hole-free cheese (5.00 / 4) (#330)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 07:24:38 AM EST

In fact, one of the main Swiss cheese, Gruyère, is hole-free. "Swiss cheese" means nothing in Switzerland; Gruyère, Vacherin, Appenzeller, Emmental (the one with holes), means something. See some cheese from Switzerland

[ Parent ]
Do you know, in the US (5.00 / 1) (#384)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:42:43 PM EST

there are regulations on how many and how big the holes have to be, before you can call it "swiss cheese"?


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
swiss cheese (5.00 / 1) (#418)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:50:41 PM EST

There is nothing called "Swiss cheese" in Switzerland, so no regulations for it.

I don't know for the holes, but here is a regulation example, for a cheese called "Etivaz" (this is a city of 200 people): The cows must eat in mountain, at least 1000 meter above sea level (mountain vegetation gives special flavor). The cheese must be fabricated immediately with fresh milk. The fabrication process must be traditional, ie using wood and fire (smoke gives flavor). And it must be done in the mountain, not in a centralized factory (good for tourism I think:-))

[ Parent ]

Interesting. [nt] (5.00 / 1) (#442)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:04:42 AM EST


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
As far as I'm concerned (5.00 / 1) (#401)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:11:44 PM EST

if it doesn't have holes, it ain't "swiss", and I don't care WHERE it comes from!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
As seen from France (5.00 / 2) (#411)
by deggial on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:07:31 PM EST

Gruyere is a generic word for (mostly industrial) siwss cheese (with or without holes). Emmental is the low quality, industrial one.

One exemple where name protection would have been useful. The original Gruyere is, as far I recall, a high quality product, much like the Beaufort.... it's a pity it's been associted with the crap sold in supermarkets.

[ Parent ]

Incoherent drible (4.38 / 18) (#184)
by chbm on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 02:47:40 PM EST

> For example, even though "parmigiano reggiano" was already registered as a trademark in the US by an Italian group, showing that the system appears to be adequate, that would be overturned.

How exactly does this show the system is adequate ? It just shows a group who could be producing shoe laces for all I know can sell them as "parmigiano reggiano".

> Now, only Parmesan cheese produced in Parma, Italy, would be allowed to carry not just the parmigiano reggiano label, but also any version or translation of it. Parmesan would be off-limits, as would Parmesan-like or Wisconsin Parmesan.

You do know what parmesan means don't you ? (Hint, it sounds like Parma).

 "Parmesan cheese" is cheese from Parma. "Cheedar cheese" is cheese from Cheedar. OPorto wine is wine from OPorto. Champagne is wine from Champagne. OPorto wine isn't crap from South Africa and Champagne isn't crap from California.

It's ridiculous for a country which moves for worldwide trademarks and patents to reject worldwide trademarks established throughout centuries in favour of their own local and feeble trademark list. Unless, of course, the purpose it to protect its own companies.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --

chedder cheese (4.50 / 2) (#200)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:51:11 PM EST

is a type of cheese. that is all.

[ Parent ]
Chedder? (4.66 / 3) (#224)
by holdfast on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:57:57 PM EST

Never heard of it.

Cheddar is a place in Southern England known for its cheese and caves.


"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
[ Parent ]
opps....your right (4.50 / 2) (#275)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:05:48 PM EST

but I think I may have stubled onto the solution.

one off naming :-)

[ Parent ]

Not quite (4.00 / 2) (#204)
by Nurgled on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 05:40:02 PM EST

Cheddar cheese is cheese made in a way invented in Cheddar. Parmesan cheese is cheese made in a way invented in Parma. If you are in Portland, Oregon and you make cheese using the method invented in Cheddar, England you have still made some Cheddar Cheese.

Cheddar and parmesan are not trademarks, they are generic terms used to describe different varieties of cheese. When I go to the supermarket, I see various brands of cheddar and parmesan cheese, and I doubt all of them were made in the place where the technique was first invented.

If I'm not allowed to call my cheddar cheese from California "cheddar", what am I to call it?



[ Parent ]
call it.. (4.60 / 5) (#226)
by Rainy on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:10:21 PM EST

californian cheese. I agree that in some cases this is odd and wrong, but in most cases it's a good thing. Because these names got diluted to shit. I have absolutely no idea if keyfood cheddar has any of that special taste that made cheddar popular in the first place.

I don't care much anyway but if people are making money on names, and if we accept it as a sensible state of affairs, we should be consistent and enforce some level of truthfulness in names. I'd even like this to go farther and have some agency qualifying that advertisements are more or less true. It's a fuzzy line here, but what isn't? This car is the best in its class? Prove it or lose the ad. Is this statement too general to be proven? Change the statement.

You may say that nobody takes this shit seriously, anyway, but if that is so, why do they pay so much to have it heard?
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Californian cheese? (5.00 / 1) (#376)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:18:24 PM EST

California is a big place. They probably make more than one kind of cheese. Likewise, what if people in Cheddar decide to make two kinds of cheese? What do the call them?
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
That's up to them (5.00 / 1) (#420)
by Rainy on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:06:29 PM EST

If you're in a brooklyn, NY, US, North america, You can call it brooklyn cheese, or NY cheese, or US cheese or North american cheese. As long as you don't call it Archangelsk cheese, I don't mind.

Telling two cheeses from the same place apart is not a problem. One of them is sharper? Call it California sharp cheese. Is it yellower? Call it yellow cheese. There must be some distinctive feature, or else why have two cheeses to begin with?
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Cheese from Parma (5.00 / 1) (#277)
by jBabel on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:27:07 PM EST

Er, "Parmesan cheese" is not "cheese from Parma".

It's a particular cheese culture, grown in a particular way, that was invented in Parma a long, long, long time ago, much, much, much longer than any trademark or copyright or patent should be allowed to live.

Same for Champagne, Porto, etc.

[ Parent ]

this is the dumbest crap I have ever heard of. (2.50 / 6) (#199)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 04:49:27 PM EST

a chease is a chease no matter where it comes from.

the name Chedder indicates where it was created, but it also identifies the type of cheese, and the process it is made by.

do you know how much money food will go up if only the regions a food comes from will be aloud to produce it!!

arrrrgh (5.00 / 2) (#465)
by Burning Straw Man on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:13:39 PM EST

do you know how much money food will go up if only the regions a food comes from will be aloud to produce it!!

Other regions will be allowed to produce the same generic cheese they were making before, they just can't label it as "Cheddar". There are a bazillion "frankfurters" sold around the world by many other names such as "Hot Dog" and so on.

The supposed "cost" comes in when Kraft has to redo the packaging of their product. They don't have to go out and destroy their existing products, that would be silly -- they would have to stop putting "Cheddar" on their cheese packaging. Call it "Kraft Yellow". I'm sorry but I just don't think that it would cost Kraft very much to change a bit of type on their printers.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

US has the same farm program as the EU. (4.35 / 17) (#209)
by opendna on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:27:34 PM EST

Sure, we like to trash those socialist countries in the EU for protecting their inefficient farmers with price supports and export subsidies.

But the US practically invented that game and does it much more aggreviously than anyone else in the world. Throw the welfare farmers off the public teat and I'll be much more receptive to criticisms of EU farm policy.

The US do not have a strategic national interest in the production of peanuts in florida or bananas in California. There is no good reason for growing rice in the desert or paying farmers not to grow food. Let the market float the price of corn and wheat and if every state from the Appalacians to the Rockies goes bankrupt as a result then fug'em, the damn pinko welfare farming wanna-be EUians. If they can't compete with Mexican peasants, Argentianian ranchers and Russian estates then they don't deserve to be Americans.

As for the whole GI concept, I'll take a 1/2-assed approach: You can call it by the type but you have to put the origin on the label. E.g. "California Champaign" and "Wisconsin Parmesan Cheese" is fine with me. In fact, I would appreciate it because it would be easier to personally boycott certain economies. French-haters could easily avoid French goods and I could avoid Florida goods, and it would be all good.



Where is the problem? It works already (4.00 / 6) (#210)
by svampa on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:27:49 PM EST

Champagne is produced in the some palce of France, in North Spain we produce a similiar wine with bubles that is called "Cava". So what?

Cognac, the liquor is produced in certain region of France, in Spain with produce a liquor following the smae process and we call it "Brandy"

Where is the problem? I really don't think Champagne is better than "Cava", the people who produces "cave" has managed to make people known their "Cava", and when poeple buys Cava knows what's buying

A lot Fruits and natural products have a region, Oranges from Valencia, wine from Rioja, so what?.

It's our bussiness to make the new name know, and like a lot of products, you may say "as good as ...., but not so expensive"

But the problem is not for such products, but for fruits, vegetables, grain etc. They are talking about removing arancels for frutis from 3º world, in order to help development, but it has no sense if 3º world is used as intermediate for selling products for 1º world countries. It's absurd that EU privileges rize from a country in order to help it to develop its own agriculture, if it does't develops agriculture because sell another country rize.



You definitely didn't get the word... (4.00 / 2) (#247)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:16:51 PM EST

Evil Californians make a red wine they call "Burgendy" and a bubbly wine they call "Champagne". In the USA, "parmesan", "swiss" and "cheddar" are generic terms for describing kinds of cheese - not where the cheese came from.

Personally, that makes sense to me. I've never heard of "Cava", but I might try Spanish Champagne, since I know what Champagne is supposed to taste like...


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
And Yanks wonder (4.00 / 2) (#260)
by it certainly is on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:10:26 PM EST

why the world regards them as uncultured oafs.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Like we care. (3.25 / 4) (#270)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:35:29 PM EST

Dude - why should I pay transatlantic shipping for a block of cheese to melt over my nachos? Why should I care that my block of Vermont extra-sharp cheddar doesn't pay homage to someone's desire to recreate a dead artificial monopoly?

All *I* want are some nachos!


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Dude, (4.75 / 4) (#278)
by it certainly is on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:28:18 PM EST

1. Keep buying your cheese! All that would change, at most, is part of the name -- e.g. "Kraft Gruyere Cheese" would become "Kraft second-rate factory-produced knock-off of Gruyere Cheese". You'd still get the same old plastic Yank crap you know and love once you opened the wrapping.

2. Cheddar is one of the names the EU is not fighting over.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Just keep on underestimating America (3.50 / 2) (#291)
by jjayson on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:34:57 AM EST

and soon we will own the global markets in almost everything that used to be traditionally European.

We also have those fru-fru $25 a ball cheeses sold in speciality stores, and American wines win international gold medals (even in French festivals).

Just wait 50 more years.

--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

yup, just look how the US kicks ass in, say (5.00 / 1) (#301)
by vivelame on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:52:31 AM EST

consumer electronics, or cars, for example.

oops, sorry.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
as long as we're mindlessly bickering.. (5.00 / 1) (#303)
by emmons on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 02:16:36 AM EST

just look at how the rest of the world kicks as in, say, engineering and scientific research and development used to manufacture those consumer electronics and cars.

oops, sorry.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

You will never beat Europe (5.00 / 1) (#399)
by it certainly is on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:38:46 PM EST

if you remain beholden to it. Get your own fucking brand names! I'm not going to buy "Champagne" from California, it can only possibly come from Champagne, France. But I would buy sparkling Chouinard wine (for example) from California, knowing that it was not Champagne, but it was still a sparkling wine that I might enjoy.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

this is all just narcissitic bs (5.00 / 1) (#391)
by warped1 on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:14:10 PM EST

You can't argue that 'yanks' are "uncultured oafs", and then make a big deal out of protecting the names of cities in the EU.

If we're all uncultured oafs, WTF is it so important  that "Kraft Gruyere Cheese" be named different?

[ Parent ]

'narcissistic', not 'narcissitic' (5.00 / 1) (#400)
by it certainly is on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:45:00 PM EST

If we're all uncultured oafs, WTF is it so important that "Kraft Gruyere Cheese" be named different?

Because the only way out of the slums is through education. If the oafs knew that "Kraft Gruyere Cheese" was neither Gruyère nor cheese, and were given tastes of real cheese and real Gruyère, they could at least distinguish. If they still prefer "cheese-like food product" over actual cheese, well, that's their preference.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Oh my ... (5.00 / 2) (#455)
by warped1 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:51:49 PM EST

Because the only way out of the slums is through education.

We're talking about the names of cheeses here, by the way ...

[ Parent ]

Nailed it (5.00 / 1) (#361)
by Jack McCoy on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:24:25 AM EST

Dude - why should I pay transatlantic shipping for a block of cheese to melt over my nachos?

That's exactly the point - in Europe, you can buy European products without shipping them across an ocean.  Why should I pay more for European stuff when the American products are at least as good?

Some people seem to think that the only cheese available in the US is made by Kraft, but they are probably the same people who think our only restaurants are McDonald's.  
-- Jack
[ Parent ]

And I'm pretty sure my valencia oranges (4.00 / 2) (#249)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:24:30 PM EST

come from Florida, USA.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
geography (5.00 / 1) (#327)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:57:57 AM EST

Champagne is produced in the some palce of France

And the name of this region is... Champagne.

Cognac, the liquor is produced in certain region of France

Around the city of... Cognac.

And now I'll listen to some real Rotterdam hardcore techno. :-)

[ Parent ]

What I would do (3.75 / 4) (#211)
by salsaman on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:28:29 PM EST

Just call it 'Original' Parmesan as opposed to just Parmesan; 'Original' Basmati as opposed to California Basmati, etc. Then amend the legislation to just protect the word 'Original'.

Au contrair, mon capitain. (5.00 / 4) (#234)
by megid on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:51:39 PM EST

Why not call the "false" Champagne "Champagne Replacement", hm? Or would that fake then not sound marketing-cool enough, hm?

--
"think first, write second, speak third."
[ Parent ]
How about.... (5.00 / 1) (#360)
by Cackmobile on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:23:12 AM EST

I can't believe its not Champagne!

[ Parent ]
But that would be very negative (5.00 / 1) (#397)
by salsaman on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:20:11 PM EST

Under my system, they could still call their product 'Champagne', just not 'Original Champagne'.

[ Parent ]
Of course it would. (5.00 / 1) (#431)
by megid on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 05:18:09 AM EST

And thats the whole sense of it. You are manufacturing fakes, remember that. People have a right to know (and recognize very clearly) that it. is. a. fake.

--
"think first, write second, speak third."
[ Parent ]
Urquell (5.00 / 1) (#307)
by Brandybuck on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:01:55 AM EST

"Pilsner Urquell" means "original pilsner". It is brewed by the real original pilsner brewery in Plzen [sp].

Which brings up an interesting point. If they're really serious about geographical indicators, are they really going to require that everything from a "pilsener" to a "pils" be brewed in the single city of Plzen? What about the rest of historic Bohemia? What about the German breweries who've been calling their product "pils" for over two centuries?

[ Parent ]

It would appear (4.00 / 7) (#217)
by Grognard on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 06:43:31 PM EST

that this little maneuver has managed to "cheese off" more than just the US.  The conference broke up this afternoon when the developing nations got fed up with the fact that side issues like this were getting more attention than the main issue of subsidies.

That kinda sucks. (3.50 / 2) (#230)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:25:51 PM EST

Developing nations, many of which had banded together to play a key role in negotiations, wanted to end rich countries' agricultural subsidies. European nations and Japan were intent on pushing four new issues that many poor countries saw as a distraction.
Maybe the world would be better if it isolated the EU and refused to export to them and import from them. The US offered to give up huge concessions in both food and cotton crops as long as the EU opened and cut subsidies too.

The real issue of the developing world needed to cut subsidies it seems like never got around to being addressed, so while the developing world (including the US) has harmful trade policies, it is a shame that they couldn't even be talked about enough to matter. Without these side distractions, I'm sure some progress could have been made.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

No policy works in a vacuum (5.00 / 2) (#290)
by jjayson on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:17:29 AM EST

By subsidizing and tariffing developing nations out of the market, they prevent these countries from rising higher economically.

This has two negative effects (among others):

(1) This provides a barrier to production that prevents these developing countries from being able to trade their labor for out goods. Once third world markets improve to something close to the already developed world there will be a new era of global prosperity. Something unseen ever before.

(2) Subsidies can actually keep prices artificially higher, since it keeps producers out of competing that can lead to long-term price competition.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]

another view.. (4.00 / 5) (#250)
by infinitera on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:47:07 PM EST

From the Guardian.

[ Parent ]
Ooh non, tis like dis: (2.75 / 4) (#228)
by levesque on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:23:54 PM EST

Only de grapees growne in Champagnee have de tastee of grapees used for making Champagnee. What would it look likee if we label our bottles "Champagnee from Champagnee", c'est pas possible, de disgrace, mon Dieu, how will our children survive.

n/t (5.00 / 1) (#469)
by levesque on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 05:09:54 PM EST



[ Parent ]
the US is not for free trade (3.85 / 7) (#229)
by mjl on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:24:29 PM EST

for example, it will not negotiate a free trade agreement with new zealand - but will with australia - because they were part of the coalition of the willing against iraq. this is not free trade.

it appears the latest WTO talks are falling apart again anyway.

and..... (5.00 / 1) (#359)
by Cackmobile on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:21:43 AM EST

we only got that because of years of sucking p and commiting to Iraq. And its still not guaranteed!!!

[ Parent ]
US Politics = Business as usual (5.00 / 2) (#382)
by andr0meda on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:00:47 PM EST

When Belgium voted it's genocide law, nobody moved.  

When the law was then used to charge almost the complete Bush administration with warcrimes and other accusations, it was with an amazing speed that the following was decided:

All US ships were specifically ordered to *NOT* disembark in Belgium's main seaport (and incidently, 2nd largest in the world), but instead go to Brest in France or Rotterdam in Holland (even if this prolongs delivery time quite drastically)   The belgian government had no choice but to capitulate, as the port generates about 50% of the country's global income. The result was that the genocide law was diminished in power, no less then 3 times in a row.  So much for respecting sovereign states and the infamous "allies and friends" of the US.

Of course, the law was out of line, and should have contained more safety flags from the start, I won't argue with that.  But the law was also a good intended attempt to stop people in power from doing harm to their people, by investigating and by testing their responsibilities to international law, like in the Tribunal of The Hague.

Americans have a history for trying to weasel out of other international courts, as could be seen in the Italy tragedy, where US jets snapped the cables of a ski-lift just for the fun of it, and then did as if their noses bleeded. But they don't have any problem when it comes to oppressing foreign people with their own laws, or just no laws at all, whichever is more handy.  As a result former Taliban warriors are allready more than 2 years in inhuman military prisons, without the slightest hint of a decent trial or case being made against them.

Of course Europe wants to protect it's food market against cheap, scientifically unapproved and lower quality US food.  Of course the US wants to ban protectionism to be able to sell more of it's junk.  Of course the 3rd world is not getting better of any of the 2 positions.

I think there is no solution in this, other than a compromise.  But you won't get any compromises from the Europeans, as food IS their culture, and even Americans in France can see why that is so important, not just to Europeans, but also to them.

Do not be afraid of the void my friend, is it not merely the logical next step?
[ Parent ]

Au-US Free Trade (none / 0) (#516)
by cam on Sun Sep 21, 2003 at 09:31:38 AM EST

but will with australia - because they were part of the coalition of the willing against iraq.

The Free Trade negotiations between Australia and the US were going on before Iraq, Afghanistan and Sept 11th. They are part of Howards doctrine of "great and powerful friends". Basically Howard seeks to entwine Au-US economically and in security so that American interests are tied up with Australian interests. It is a faield doctrine and has many example of failure in the last century. Not to mention it deflated Australias independance and worth.

Rather than looking at Australian involvement in Iraq to get Free Trade, look at it as Howard trying to get it signed. It is all consistent behaviour with Howards pathetic foreign policy doctrine. Chile and Singapore didnt take part in Iraq or Afghanistan yet have had their Free Trade Agreements passed by the President and Congress. Which only proves how pathetic Howard is in trading Australian independance. It is totally unnecessary.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Whine, whine, whine. (4.50 / 12) (#233)
by megid on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:48:26 PM EST

Its amazing how you take a pretty common sense thought ("swiss cheese" must be swiss) and turn it into a mudsling fest, making up nonsensical consequences and maxing out all the tools of the troll.

I especially liked the part with the whining "oh it will cost millions of dollars in packaging and marketing" kraft ketchup manager. Poor pitiful slob. *g*

--
"think first, write second, speak third."

'Basmati' is not a GI (3.33 / 3) (#235)
by splitpeasoup on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 07:51:56 PM EST

Basmati is not the name of a place in India and thus cannot possibly be a 'geographic indication'.

-SPS

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Basmati is not India specific alone (5.00 / 1) (#305)
by ftee on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 02:53:15 AM EST

Basmati Rice (a delicious pungent variety of rice) is grown in specific climatic conditions found in Indian state of Punjab and ALSO Pakistani state of Punjab. I recall, Pakistan is larger exporter of Basmati rice than India. Note: I'm not from Pakistan.

[ Parent ]
Interesting thing about rice export (5.00 / 1) (#306)
by gmol on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:00:18 AM EST

The biggest rice exporter in the world is China....
guess who is second?

Yup...the USA...and Americans don't even eat rice!

What is the reason why countries like India can't produce at the same rate?  Answer: mechanized farming.  Too many farms all split up, and people don't want to co=operate to invest in a more efficient process...

Differing opinions are welcomed.

[ Parent ]

Another Reason? (5.00 / 2) (#334)
by craigtubby on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:09:22 AM EST

Huge farm subsidies to US farmers?

The US makes a billion a year from the export of rice, yet strangely the subsidies it pays to rice farmers is more than a billion.

Hows an Idian farmer supposed to compete with that?

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

Not only Europe is affected. (3.42 / 7) (#237)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:21:45 PM EST

Sorry, but no sympathy for USia regarding this one.

Look at this for example: http://www.woza.co.za/aug02/rooibos21.htm

And I simply refuse to see the day when there is something called tequila not produced in Tequila.

And for the people asking why parmeggiano has to come from Parma, I have only to offer my deepest condolences for the untimely death of their common sense and free Italian lessons with Silvio Berlusconi....

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?

Pfft. (4.50 / 4) (#245)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:56:50 PM EST

You know, I care very little that Mandrake Linux comes from France, or that Microsoft Office comes from Redmond. The contents are what's important. WTF should I care where my tequila comes from, as long as it's good tequila?


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
tequila is no more from Tequila (5.00 / 1) (#297)
by drini on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:28:58 AM EST

there are now all over mexico places that make and sell tequila. Heck! now there arne't all made of maguey plant
Math is the weapon
[ Parent ]
Nope. (5.00 / 1) (#508)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 07:34:43 PM EST

Tequila only comes from the Tequila region. Anyother thinkg is fake and if you buy it you are being ripped off.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]
New York Cheddar? (3.66 / 3) (#244)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 08:54:56 PM EST

Everybody knows that Vermont cheddar is the best!


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


Cheddar (5.00 / 1) (#252)
by kjb on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 09:56:59 PM EST

I have a cheese in my fridge called "Irish Cheddar", and it was made in Wisconsin.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

Whoa. (5.00 / 1) (#265)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:23:19 PM EST

My mind boggles.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Yep (5.00 / 1) (#286)
by kjb on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:56:43 PM EST

In the store, I told 'em that it wasn't really Irish, and the response I got was essentially "It's got that green wax on it".

Amazing, isn't it.

BTW, the cheese is pretty good, even if it isn't really Irish.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

ATTN: THIS STORY HAS BEEN MODBOMBED (1.50 / 14) (#254)
by Night In White Satin2 on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:03:22 PM EST

FYI, every post has been modded 0 by me. LOL!. i'm so gay

Well, it was ni... (5.00 / 3) (#256)
by it certainly is on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:06:32 PM EST

actually, no, knowing you was shit too. Fuck off, Eric.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

who the hell is eric? (2.85 / 7) (#258)
by Night In White Satin2 on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:07:53 PM EST

my name is jason

[ Parent ]
Well (5.00 / 2) (#262)
by kjb on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:16:22 PM EST

the comments you hid have been "un-hidden", as it were.

fuckhead.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

Yep, (5.00 / 2) (#269)
by Bjorniac on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:28:57 PM EST

didn't take long either. That's a real failure as far as trolls go - this is not just a boring troll, but a really bad one. Seems like we've swapped trolling quality for quantity.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
And then.... (5.00 / 2) (#272)
by kjb on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:50:12 PM EST

this

Ha, Ha!

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

LOL how long did he spend on it? (5.00 / 2) (#273)
by Bjorniac on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:52:45 PM EST

Ah well, all that great effort gone to naught. I almost feel sorry for him, so much effort and no result.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
The funniest thing is (5.00 / 2) (#314)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:37:23 AM EST

All of those people who got a zero now have fairly high scores from the people who took the steering ratings.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Maybe we can get a K4 GI (5.00 / 1) (#287)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:58:25 PM EST

Authentic Kuro5hin Troll
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
Good one :) -nt (5.00 / 1) (#405)
by Bjorniac on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:49:57 PM EST


Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
Completely OT (3.00 / 6) (#255)
by hex11a on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:04:22 PM EST

Is someone running a vendetta against this article? I've never seen so many low ratings!

Yeah, we've got a jackass on the loose. (5.00 / 2) (#266)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:27:33 PM EST

You know, the sort of script-kiddie wanna-be who thinks zeroing every comment on an article is high comedy.

Fortunately, it's after 10 - he'll proabably fall asleep soon.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Parmesan Cheese (3.77 / 9) (#263)
by wij on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 10:17:24 PM EST

But if I blow up Parma, Italy with a nuclear bomb, then where, oh where, will we get our Parmesan cheese from?

"I am an intellectual of great merit, yet I am not adequately compensated for this by capitalism; this is the reason for my opposition to it."
Same place (5.00 / 4) (#285)
by jjayson on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:56:07 PM EST

The EU will just say that all Parmesancheese must now include authentic nuclear radiation from Italy.
--
Smile. =)
[ Parent ]
I've got a better one.... (5.00 / 2) (#342)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:08:40 AM EST

What happens if some enterprising US coporation buys Parma?

They could dig up all the soil and bedrock, oh I don't know, for a 50 mile radius and 2 miles deep, so that there is this big gaping crater.

Then, they simply export it to some place like Malaysia, where the labor is cheap. At that point, can they make Parmesan cheese in Malaysia?

If not, do you have to hover in a helicopter, 2 miles above the crater, to make authentic Parmesan cheese?

It's bad enough with some of the stupid IP laws we have now days, but to allow even more on the books is retarded. And to let the stinky euros force it on us... hell, that's probably a given.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Are EUians really this stupid? (3.00 / 14) (#279)
by godix on Sun Sep 14, 2003 at 11:36:50 PM EST

The EU is saying that their citizens are too stupid to tell brands apart. Apperently the typical EUian can't do what an average USian does, which is to go 'Oh, I've had chedder cheese from this company that makes it in Antartica and it sucks, this other company which made it in England is much better'. Interesting that the EU government thinks it's citizens are really that fucking dumb and instead of being pissed off it's citizens stand up in mass to announce 'Yes we are so moronic that we're this easily confused, we need government regulations to help with our astounding ignorance.' Really Europe, is it that hard to remember 'Kraft sucks, (name of local company) doesn't'?

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
This is more to do with export (5.00 / 1) (#319)
by nebbish on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:08:28 AM EST

And the US is the EU's biggest market.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

No. It has more to do with (5.00 / 2) (#323)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:42:48 AM EST

trying to distract people from farm-policy.

"We don't have to stop our farm subsidies because those bastards stole our name!"


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
I doesn't work with brands in Europe (4.75 / 4) (#325)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:44:25 AM EST

Cheese from a company? Doesn't work like that in the parts of Europe I know. Most cheese has no brand. And in fact, branded food means "industrial food" and for Europeans it means bad taste.

The idea of GI is to define strict rules for what can be called XYZ cheese and then let anybody compete at producing it. The problem is that a strict geographic region is part of the rules. It is not a major problem in Europe because every region has it's own cheese speciality. It is of course a bit more difficult to internationalize, but it is only a problem for food so common that it's name is now almost generic.

But it should be noted that it is not a protection measure, European citizen really want to know where food is comming from.

[ Parent ]

what Europeans want (5.00 / 1) (#331)
by jjayson on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 07:28:20 AM EST

But it should be noted that it is not a protection measure, European citizen really want to know where food is comming from.
But Europe already has GIs. The WTO proposal is meant to broaden it to America and the rest of the world. This has nothing to do with what Europeans want since this wouldn't affect them.
_______
Smile =)
Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by mo
[ Parent ]
what Europeans want (5.00 / 2) (#338)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:23:15 AM EST

The WTO proposal is meant to broaden it to America and the rest of the world.

Yes, so it has value out of Europe and can be exported. Otherwise any successful GI will be parasited out of Europe. Of course Europe want to export it because it has many GIs. Same situation with business and software patents, just with reversed roles.

[ Parent ]

So where's the problem? (5.00 / 1) (#337)
by godix on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:15:03 AM EST

branded food means "industrial food" and for Europeans it means bad taste.

Meaning that the arguement over where it's made doesn't matter since it's easy to just go 'oh look, it's branded, lets avoid it'?
It is of course a bit more difficult to internationalize, but it is only a problem for food so common that it's name is now almost generic.

Which is exactly where the arguement lies. The EU is trying to get the rest of the world to only buy parmesan cheese from Italy and the rest of the world is basically saying 'Uh no, parmesan doesn't indicate a place of origin for our population'.
But it should be noted that it is not a protection measure, European citizen really want to know where food is comming from.

Sounds like an issue about requiring origin on the label rather than a GI issue. That's something I thought Europe already had actually.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
[ Parent ]
GI seen from europe (5.00 / 1) (#339)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:34:43 AM EST

Which is exactly where the arguement lies. The EU is trying to get the rest of the world to only buy parmesan cheese from Italy and the rest of the world is basically saying 'Uh no, parmesan doesn't indicate a place of origin for our population'.

It would be really stupid from Europeans to be this stubborn. I think it is more a question of the other parts of the world having nothing to win because they don't have many GIs to export.

But GIs is of vital economic importance for many regions of Europe. This is why it is developping fast in Europe, and why Europe would like to export it.



[ Parent ]
Perhaps (5.00 / 1) (#414)
by godix on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:23:33 PM EST

There are some important GI's in non-European countries. Wisconson Cheese, Idaho Potatoes, Vidalia onions, and Flordia oranges are just a few I can think of and I'm sure members of other countries can come up with their own local examples.

I do agree though, the EU is in it as protectionism for it's various food industries that have few competative strategies against companies that can produce a product like theirs but cheaper. The fact that many EUians here are hiding behind 'it's not protectionism, we're just stupid' is just something I found rather amusing.

Some more amusing thoughts: If the EU got GI applied to the rest of the world imagine what would happen to Fosters Australian Beer (brewed in Canada), your corner chinese/indian/whatever ethnic food place (made in whatever country you live in), or French Fries (not invented or made in France). The idea of GI is plainly stupid when applied to the majority of foods which does make me wonder if the EUians are just acting stupid or if they really are that dumb.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
[ Parent ]

GI are specific (5.00 / 1) (#417)
by des mots on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:34:14 PM EST

Of course it is stupid to apply GIs for places as big as countries (or states for you). And trying to protect only now very common names like "Parmesan" is also a typical abuse. The main use of GIs is for small cities (less than 1000 people).

And yes, GIs make no sense for junk industrial food (most of American food). But in Europe it is not uncommon to drink wine, eat cheese, meat and fruits produced less than 100 miles away.

I don't understand your "protectionism" arguments. Is it only based on abuses, or on the general principle? I don't think it is more protectionism than trademarks.

[ Parent ]

Sounds to me like you haven't stepped outside... (5.00 / 1) (#419)
by the on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:51:55 PM EST

...of European borders.

But in Europe it is not uncommon to drink wine, eat cheese, meat and fruits produced less than 100 miles away.
In Oakland, California, I can eat meat from Niman Ranch in Marin, duck from Petaluma, garlic from Gilroy, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables from the local farmer's markets, locally made Aidell's sausages, wine from Napa and Sonoma, and countless types of bread from all around this area including the San Francisco specialty, sourbread. I can, and do, buy just about any type of food in a 100 mile radius.

I can also buy cheese from France, England, Italy and Spain, pasta from Italy,... and, I think you get the idea.

junk industrial food (most of American food).
Stereotyping is so easy.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
Yeah... The SF Bay Area kicks ass. (5.00 / 1) (#427)
by jjayson on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:11:52 AM EST

Since moving away, I miss the culture of food there. The huge immigrant population has created so many good ethic and fusion restraunts that I think I could eat at a different great place every night for years and never eat at the same place twice.

With all the farm land just out side the immedate Bay Area there is always somebody making something of high quality locally.
_______
Smile =)
Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by mo
[ Parent ]

outside of Europe (5.00 / 1) (#446)
by des mots on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:56:59 AM EST

From New York to California or South Dakota to Texas, I may have visited more states than you. :-) Agreed, visiting is not living. I get the idea, but the SF area is not typical, isn't it?

[ Parent ]
The Bay Area is good (5.00 / 1) (#456)
by the on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:03:35 PM EST

But on recent journeys around the US I have enjoyed locally caught crab and lobster in Maine, local salmon in Oregon, local beef in Texas and Utah and local alligator(!) and crawfish in Louisiana.

The US is still covered in agricultural land and there is plenty of local food to be found everywhere. It also has a great variety of interesting local cuisines, my favorites being from Louisiana.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]

Protectionism (5.00 / 1) (#422)
by godix on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:22:27 PM EST

GI is protectionism and is different from Trademarks. With GIs a government is using it's power to make sure that certain markets within it do not have competition, or at least not effective competition. These are rules designed for the sole benefit of the growers. They do not provide any protection for the consumer (unless the EUian consumer is stupid, like my parent post questions) but instead actually hurt the consumer by raising the price of goods.

Trademarks on the other hand are protections the benefit the company AND consumer (in theory). They protect a companies brand name obviously, but they also protect the consumer from a company that makes inferior cheese and marketing it as Kraft. The main difference between TM and GI though is that TM does not prevent another company from making and selling an exact copy of the product at a lower price, thus TMs do not harm the consumer with higher prices like GI does.

Before you get the idea that I'm bashing the EU and praising the US, I suspect that instead of TM you meant to compare it to copyright. Copyright is a protection scheme with the exact same problems and flaws that GI has. Copyright is also an issue that sadly was not a major issue in the talks, although it does center largely whenever discussions about 'knockoff' drugs comes into play.

All told the first world countries do protectionism to some degree or another although most call it 'tariffs' instead of 'GI'. The third world walked off these talks because it felt the first world wasn't willing to remove protections, EU being the one case in the bad light this time.

I don't understand spending all that money for a fancy shot ... when pregnancy ain't nothing that a good coathanger or a pair of steel toed boots can't fix<
[ Parent ]

Not so different (5.00 / 1) (#430)
by signifying nothing on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:53:01 AM EST

GI is protectionism and is different from Trademarks.

Not so much difference, in fact. It would be possible to achieve exactly the same effect by setting up a food-producers association owning the GI trademarks, and licensing those marks to any local producer meeting certain standards.

The only reason this is not possible is that the present globalised food market and trade framework came into existence only after these producers marks had been adopted elsewhere in a generic sense.



[ Parent ]
Not so different (5.00 / 1) (#444)
by des mots on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:17:43 AM EST

Not so much difference, in fact. It would be possible to achieve exactly the same effect by setting up a food-producers association owning the GI trademarks, and licensing those marks to any local producer meeting certain standards.

In fact it works like that.

And I would say that 99% of GI names have never been adopted anywhere in a generic sense (as in this list)

[ Parent ]

protection (5.00 / 1) (#445)
by des mots on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:44:45 AM EST

I must be stupid because I feel way more protected by a GI (ie name + production standards + origin) than by a mark (only name). And it does only raises the price of GI products. I can still buy excellent (and cheap) californian, chilean or australian wine.

And I also do not see how it prevents competition. I can't see how to use GI to prevent competitors to do the exact same product, GI are not patents. Agreed, there is certainly more ways to abuse GIs than trademarks. But they are still many more ways to abuse patents, or even copyrights with DMCA-like laws. And no, GI have nothing to do with copyrights. And drugs have nothing to do with copyrights.

I agree that GIs can be seen as a kind of governement protected advertisment. GIs are a way to build an campaign on the notoriety of a region. But the campain must still be done and paid by the producers.

[ Parent ]

the money comments do it in (4.44 / 9) (#308)
by F a l c o n on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:07:50 AM EST

The article was fairly good, until the "it'll cost us GAZILLIONS! We're going to DIIEEE!" comment came in. If $$$ is the only argument someone can bring, in my book they just lost the discussion. It is a valid request that not every joker can create shit in bottles and sell it as champagne, you know? The fine points (whether it's the region or the contents, bla bla) are certainly a topic for an extensive discussion. But the "oh, it's sooo expensive" is a dead-end argument. I'm sure more police drives up the costs of thieves and robbers, too.
--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
Pilsner Beer (4.60 / 10) (#313)
by chrisjowell on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:32:13 AM EST

Having tasted what the Americans pawn off as "Pilsner" and "Budweiser" I can only say that this is a very good idea

Plzen, dammit (5.00 / 2) (#356)
by TVoFin on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:10:07 AM EST

It's supposed to be Plzen and Budejovice, not Pilsner and Budweiser, dammit...

Seriously, though: I, too, think that marketing a beer with the name Budweiser while it is nowhere near the quality of the Right Stuff Budejovice is very, very wrong. Hey, we won't just slap a beef between two slabs of bread, add some salad and horrible mayonnaise and call it a big mac...

IB, life, sleep -- pick any two. --Anonymous IB senior.
[ Parent ]

Too true (5.00 / 2) (#357)
by Cackmobile on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:17:12 AM EST

Glad someone said it!!!

[ Parent ]
I'm assuming you're British (5.00 / 1) (#470)
by thenick on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 06:18:59 PM EST

So I have one piece of advice when drinking American beer. Try putting it in a refrigerator. Beer wasn't meant to be consumed at room temp.

 
"Doing stuff is overrated. Like Hitler, he did a lot, but don't we all wish he would have stayed home and gotten stoned?" -Dex
[ Parent ]

I'm assuming your American (5.00 / 1) (#506)
by Bjorniac on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 06:57:07 PM EST

The american beer known as Budweiser is considered by many to be far inferior to the Chech beer of the same name, although marketed in the US as "Chehvar" or something similar (UK it's "Budwar"). There are some good US beers - some of the micro-brews are excellent - but the mass produced stuff has always been considered inferior by europeans to the native stuff. That said, this could partly because beer doesn't travel well, an example being that the guiness you buy in the US bears almost no resemblance to the wonderful stout of Ireland.
Freedom for RMG! Join the Jihad...
[ Parent ]
And Hamburgers can only be made in Hamburg (4.14 / 7) (#320)
by davidmb on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:12:57 AM EST

Seriously though, the quality of the average prepacked cheese in an American supermarket is atrocious. If consumers realised that the lump of orange (orange!) rubber they usually buy is NOT Cheddar, it might encourage them to try some real cheeses.
־‮־
Uses of the WTO (3.75 / 4) (#321)
by izogi on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:13:13 AM EST

I'd be interested in what other people's views are, but one thing that seems apparent is that for better or worse, small countries try to use the WTO to promote more free trade so they can export more. Big countries and entities (mostly Europe and the US), on the other hand, seem to prefer using the WTO to try and put more restrictions on what other countries can do in order to protect and preserve what they already have from what's more recently become a more accessible global marketplace. Is this a reasonable assessment or am I being naive?

How far does this go? Can a California sushi roll only be made in California or a Philly cheese steak only be made in the City of Brotherly Love? Will a New Zealand restaraunt no longer be able to make French cuisine?

New Zealand was already hit by a similar european issue several years ago. That's why champagne in NZ had to be rebranded as "Lindauer".

It starts with price supports -- what the WTO calls domestic support. The EU props up prices for its own farmers, keeping even the expensive ones in business.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the US Federal Government also provide huge government farming subsidies, not to mention substantial tarriffs on imported meat and dairy products. If you live in New Zealand at least, you'd hear a lot through the media channels about how the US Federal government is 'propping up a very inefficient farming industry'. One of the issues that the New Zealand government's been trying to push through the WTO is to get the US to lower a lot of the international trade barriers. Unfortunately in the short term, it'd probably shake up a lot of the US farming industry which is (apparently) very bloated and inefficient at the moment.


- izogi


Farms (5.00 / 1) (#362)
by Krazor on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:32:49 AM EST

I was once shown how bloated the US farm industry in one of the best examples yet... Noone really understands how farming effects them so I was shown it in terms of cars. If the car industry had the save level of support as the farm industry our cars today would cost $45000 and for that you'd get a car with 34 horsepower, no AC, no radio and no windows around the front seat.

This example comes from "Parliament of Whores" by P.J O'Rourke. It's a great book and I recommend it to all who want a brief but humorous introduction to the US government.

[ Parent ]
Not exactly (4.50 / 2) (#381)
by blakdogg on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:57:08 PM EST

Big countries use the WTO to push through rules that  benefit them. The US is all for minimal regulations when they were stripping the caribbean countries of their preferential tarrifs. And they are preaching the same gospel wrt GM foods. On the subject of farming subsidies, everyone thinks the others is wrong. The long and short of it is that subsidies and the resultant dumping may lead to economic ruin for subsistance third world farmers.
Woe be onto the United Nations, there nothing but a front.
[ Parent ]
US Farm Subsidies (none / 0) (#515)
by cam on Sun Sep 21, 2003 at 09:23:28 AM EST

but doesn't the US Federal Government also provide huge government farming subsidies,

It was passed for 80 billion USD last year. To put that in context, Australia is the fifteenth largest economy and has a GDP of 357 billion USD.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

it's not just protecting the name (4.53 / 13) (#324)
by the sixth replicant on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:43:22 AM EST

but also the "branding". Parmigiano Reggiano is sweet and robust and not a dried out flavourless cheese in pre-grated packets. Parma ham, and the different types of it, has a nice flavoursome fat layer. Baltsamic vinger isn't just vinegar with caramel colouring added to it.

A lot of these industries associated with the historical regions are run by family businesses. The fact that Cheddar eaten around the world tastes nothing like the original (more on the side of Parmesean cheese than the flavourless gouda-like cheese that you get) must hurt the crap out of the local producers. Global markets are fine but it doesn't mean we have to sandpaper everything down to the same lowest common denominator level.

If I can't afford the real thing then I'll buy something like it, but please don't insult my intelligence and call it some exotic name just to sell a few more units.

Ciao

PS Yes some of the countries are going over the top with their strictness, but hey they're protecting a name thats been going for upwards of hundreds of years and they don't have huge corporations like Walt Disney to change the law everytime they need to protect their name or product.

PPS Yes there are some authentic people trying to make authentic produce, but if we're going to protect these guys what about the ones that started it? Shouldn't they also be protected. I also think there is a very small majority of people being authentic outside of these regions. In fact, see what people have done with espresso around the world. Unless you've been to italy i doubt if people would know what a real Espresso tastes like! You can't even get good coffe in France (yes, I'm that picky!! :)

Nonsense! (4.50 / 4) (#368)
by merkri on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:47:18 AM EST

I've read a number of posts here that amount to some comment like "they're justifiably protecting the name for small farmers washed out by horrible imitations elsewhere." The "elsewhere" is often implied to be the U.S.

This line of reasoning is absurd.

It is absurd, for example, to argue that coming from a certain region of the world guarantees a certain level of quality.

For one, consider the simple fact that it is possible for a local producer of a region to also produce a horrible product. It is entirely reasonable, for example, that a Parmesean cheesemaker from Parma will emerge and produce relatively lower quality, but cheaper cheese.

Conversely, I have had local cheddars from New York, Canada, Vermont, and Wisconsin that far surpass in quality cheddars I have had from England.

In either case, the protectionist line of reasoning immediately falls apart, because what's being protected isn't really quality, it's a region. When you do that, you're not protecting quality, you're protecting a group from having to compete fairly.

I suspect that many arguments about mass-consumed products derive from ignorance about what actually is produced in the US. I suspect that many making arguments to the effect that "the X coming from the US is nothing like the original" have never been to the US and tried a local product. For every corporate, mass-produced version of a cheese, beer, or wine in the US, there are multiple small, local producers making another, entirely different, better version. Many of these products are indeed local, and never travel outside of a small region. Just because they don't ship to other areas of the US, to say the least of Europe, doesn't mean they don't exist.

You say that certain quality standards might be enacted in a region? Well, then what should be protected is the fact that the product was approved by the standards board--not some regional name.

In any event, the market should decide what level of quality is implied by a public, nontrademarkable term. If massive quantities of people decide that they will pay less money for a cheaper, but satisfactory version of something, what's implied is that people don't need a certain level of quality.

I love a quality cheddar, for example. But I don't want it on a broiled herb, tomato and cheese sandwich, because the complex qualities of a more expensive cheddar are lost in the mix anyway.

Protectionist arguments also ignore the fact that language generally develops in certain predictable ways. Often, regions come to define a variety of cheese. It's well known now that what's being referred to by Parmesean is not a region, but a style of cheese. No consumer is being confused. If they want a Parma Parmesean, they look for that fact. Parma should be proud of the fact it is the home of such a basic, prototypic cheese. It would be stupid of them to try to protect the name so obsessively, because it's basically limiting advertisement of a style of cheese. To protect the name is to limit its use.

In any event, regional protectionism leads to bizarre and unresolvable problems, as the Economist article notes. What's being protected? The people? The cheese? If so, what about the cheese? If someone moves, and brings Parma culture with them, isn't that a Parmesean culture? And can't it be identified as such? What about a Parmasean living in the US, producing a Parma-style cheese with a Parmasean culture? It seems much more clear to trademark a brand or a standards approval, than a name referring to a style associated with a particular region of the world.


[ Parent ]

The US does the same thing. (5.00 / 7) (#378)
by blakdogg on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:48:41 PM EST

I would suggest you read the rules and regulations concerning spirits, Bourbon whiskey to be exact. The term can only be used to describe whiskey made in the US. I would also suggest you look into the regulations concerning Tequila, Scotch Whisky and Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. I am sure the term Parmesan cheese is no less geographically specific than these terms.
Woe be onto the United Nations, there nothing but a front.
[ Parent ]
I'd have much the same thing to say (5.00 / 1) (#408)
by merkri on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:56:56 PM EST

I was not aware of these rules about Bourbon.

If they're as you say they are, though, I'd have to disagree with them too. I see as much problem in requiring Bourbon to come from the US as Parmesean to come from Parma. It doesn't matter if it's the US or the EU doing it.

Now, if Bourbon had to have certain ingredients or whatnot, I'd have no problem with that. But that would be different, as it would be a matter of style of product rather than region.

I have no problem with the idea of a Bourbon whiskey made in Scotland, for example.

All of this is a bit silly, really, because the correct way of addressing these concerns is to simply require that the place of origin be clearly labeled. If a whiskey is labeled "McDonough Distillery Bourbon Whiskey," and also includes "Produced in Scotland," there's no problem.


[ Parent ]

ok (5.00 / 2) (#385)
by the sixth replicant on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:42:47 PM EST

I also see the point of view by others. But the fact that people are making completely crappy versions of some food stuffs is both bad for the originator and the local producers that pour their sweat and blood into trying to give an authentic product. So what might be in order is a good licensing scheme that says "this is orignal" and "this is as close as to the original as it's going to get", and "this, we just add some food colouring to make it look kinda like the original"

In Europe there are also different levels of originality (I don't think that's the right word :). [Italy has DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin). France their own etc. It gets kinda confusing. Look at all the labels on a bottle of Balsamic vinegar.]

I know a lot of people, including myself, have been pushing the origin thing and yes that will hurt producers that haven't had the luck to be born or have cows within, say, 75 miles of Parma. But most producers just clap a funny sounding name on their product and, pretty ignorant people, buy it thinking that's what the product tastes like! Being a food critic myself, that's not good enough. Yes, the Europeans are milking it for all it's worth but trust me, Parmesan is fucken expensive in Italy too. Opening up to competion is going to kill anyone that pours their heart and soul into making good food....and the winners? They're going to be manufacturers like Kraft, and trust me, then we'll all lose.

Ciao

[ Parent ]

Climate (4.44 / 9) (#333)
by nebbish on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:00:10 AM EST

Sorry to be a bit of a foody, but parmesan cheese and prosciutto are both made in the area around parma because their long curing process depends on the area's damp, foggy climate. Make it anywhere else and it simply won't taste the same.

I can understand having "prosciutto-style" ham made elsewhere and think that is fair enough, but there is a question of authenticity, and getting the product you are paying a premium price for.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

I can't fully agree. (5.00 / 1) (#377)
by blakdogg on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:30:54 PM EST

Even if a product can be replicated in another location, the expertise used in creating the product must be considered. If there are a few immigrants who decide to produce their traditional foods, the quality of their output may be substandard. There is the issue of how skilled these persons are in the production of these foods. Then there is the absence of a support system, the absence of older experts and a shortage of younger apprentices may have an adverse effect. Also the availability of raw materials, and the need to substitute.
Woe be onto the United Nations, there nothing but a front.
[ Parent ]
So should I be allowed make Coca-Cola? (4.40 / 15) (#335)
by lugumbashi on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 08:11:22 AM EST

It is all very well arguing that American cheese is microbiologically identical to Camembert but what if I tried to sell a fizzy drink identical to Coca-Cola? I would be sued to oblivion, that's what. Parma ham is a brand just like Coca-Cola. Farmers spent generations refining the product and consumers purchase it knowing what to expect. It is only fair if this brand is protected in the manner of other commercial items. So what if some giant US coop can make something that tastes the same? They don't own the brand just like I don't own the Coca Cola or Big Mac brands.

Pull the plank out of your own eye and read up about the trouble Vietnamese farmers have had trying to sell catfish into the US.
-"Guinness thaw tool in jew me dinner ouzel?"

Go try it (5.00 / 2) (#345)
by epepke on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 09:57:12 AM EST

The "secret" formula for Coca Cola has been known for a long time. There's only one ingredient you can't get--processed Coca leaves, because there's only one plant that is licenced to do the processing, and I doubt they'd sell you any.

But anyway, practically every supermarket in the United States has a generic cola on the shelves. There's also Pepsi-Cola and Royal Crown cola, national brands. Also, in the southern U.S., "coke" or "co-cola" is a generic term for a carbonated soft drink. There's nothing that the Coca Cola company can or should be able to do about this, insofar as it does not infringe upon their trademark.

In practice, though, it's suicide for a cola producer to make their product taste like another company's offering, as the Coca Cola company found out with New Coke, which was specifically designed to taste more like Pepsi. (It was actually Diet Coke with sugar/corn syrup.) Even now, you will meet people who consider Coke not the original formula on account of having corn syrup instead of sucrose (except that even before New Coke, about one-third of Coke was made with corn syrup, and even now, all Coke made around Passover is made with sucrose.)


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
I was unclear (4.80 / 5) (#348)
by lugumbashi on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:19:02 AM EST

What if I make an identical drink and then call it "Coca Cola"? Ham is generic, like Cola is generic. Parma Ham is not generic. Anyway both sides are missing the point. By enforcing brands like Parma Ham, producers from other countries are encouraged to develop brands of their own. The Australian Wine industry is a good example. Instead of producing copies of French wine, they have developed their own brands like Barossa to beat the French at their own game. The consumer wins.
-"Guinness thaw tool in jew me dinner ouzel?"
[ Parent ]
Yes, you can. (4.66 / 3) (#354)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:07:39 AM EST

First, if you went to a country where Coca-Cola was not a registered trademark, you certainly could both register the trademark and sell a cola called "Coca-Cola". Nike ran into that problem in Spain in the 1990s, IIRC, - a local businessman registered the Nike trademarks in Spain before Nike did - and Spanish courts ruled against the US Nike Shoe Corp.

Similarly, if you and your dozen or so buddies all began producing colas and called them things like "Bob's Coca-Cola" and "Frank's First Rate Coca-Cola" then, when "The Real Thing" entered the country they would find that not only couldn't they trademark the name, but that the name was a generic term and could not be trademarked at all.

That's the situation with things like Parmesan cheese - for a good 70-80 years, dozens of US companies have been using the name in good faith. At this point, I doubt one American in 50 realizes that "Parmesan" means anything but "cheese flavored powder".


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
All of which proves my point (4.50 / 2) (#367)
by lugumbashi on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:46:52 AM EST

The fact that Spanish consumers are duped into buying inferior trainers,

the fact that US consumers are duped into buying vomit-smelling cheese powder instead of succulent parmesan,

the fact that the country where Coca-Cola is not a immediately recognisable brand name does not exist,

all show that the absence of brand protection and ownership harms the consumer.
-"Guinness thaw tool in jew me dinner ouzel?"
[ Parent ]

Really. Duped. (4.50 / 2) (#383)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:35:42 PM EST

And how do you intend to prove your assertion that anyone was duped into buying "inferior" trainers? Are you claiming that the Spanish company's shoes weren't as good as those made by Asian sweatshops?


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Disconnect (4.50 / 2) (#396)
by Easyas123 on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:55:43 PM EST

That is where the language usage crops up its ugly head again. Right ort wrong, when I hear the words "brand" or "brand name" I think of one and only one company.

We actually have the same things here in the us, but they are either already trademarked, (such as vidallia onions) or meaningful to US citizens, (such as Idaho potatos). To us champagne is just bubbly white wine. Plus given that imported foods often cost an arm and a leg, what good would it do to eliminate all of the name common products if no one would end up buying them anyway?

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

BTW - I think Idaho Potatoes is trademarked. (5.00 / 1) (#409)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:00:43 PM EST

That's the normal mode, same as "California Raisins".


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Did you read any of the comments? (5.00 / 2) (#426)
by jjayson on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:49:26 AM EST

Both of your "arguments" have been fully handled in previous threads. I have substantially handled the tra/catfish thing and others have convincingly argued that something like Parmesan is not a brand name but a style. It isn't like Coca-cola; it is more like just cola. The brand name would be the farm that it comes from.
_______
Smile =)
Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by mo
[ Parent ]
Fair Enough (4.00 / 4) (#350)
by Cackmobile on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:02:44 AM EST

Not allowing something to be called Parmesan because its not from parma but THey should be allowed to use Parmesan style cheese or parmesan like. Thats what we use here in oz where this has been enforced for a while.

One more thing!! (3.50 / 2) (#351)
by Cackmobile on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:04:21 AM EST

There is a village in the Uk (near Cheddar actually) called beer. Maybe they have a right to something. In France I saw a town called Pussy and in Germany, Tits. Unless there from Tits they are jsut Breasts?

Heh, not just Pussy, the co-product too (5.00 / 1) (#509)
by Chep on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 08:10:08 PM EST

with the city of Condom...

--

Our Constitution ... is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the greatest number.
Thucydide II, 37


[ Parent ]

What?! (3.50 / 4) (#352)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:04:48 AM EST

You mean there is no Jolly Green Giant?!
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.

What a stupid article (3.37 / 8) (#353)
by SlashDread on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:06:30 AM EST

Sure, thats why the EU should 'liberate' the agricultural market.

So 'Smart' USsians, can knockoff cali based bubbly whitewine as "Champange" or New England based rubber soles as "Cheddar".

Never mind the starving thirld world, which is the REAL reason GLOBAL agriculture should liberate.

This article reads like, smells like, anti-EU bashing, even if it is not aimed at doing so.

/Dread

Oh Shut up. (4.14 / 7) (#363)
by Run4YourLives on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:38:15 AM EST

Ok, so the EU is doing the same thing you yanks have been doing for years through Free Trade and Nafta. Cry me a fucking river.

Write your next article on one of these topics: Softwood lumber, Drinking water, Hydro generation.


It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown

Language differences (4.00 / 5) (#369)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:48:32 AM EST

This seems to boil down to a question of differences in language. The impression that I get is that when a European hears someone say "This is Cheddar cheese," they interpret it to mean that said cheese is from the town of Cheddar. On the other hand, any American that hears "This is Cheddar cheese," will assume that the cheese has a certain general style. The words may be exactly the same, but they have a different meaning.

Using a place name to indicate a style of food is not a purely American practice. I understand that in Germany a Berliner is a certain type of pastry, which may or may not be made in Berlin. When you hand a pastry to a German citizen and say "This is a Berliner," he understands that you are referring to the style of pastry, not to the origin of the pastry. Anyone that proposed barring pastries made in other parts of Germany from being called "Berliners" would rightly be laughed at, because the word "Berliner", as applied to pastries, carries no suggestion of geographic origin, as understood by German speakers .

Now, there's another factor that people are confounding here. A lot of people have been pointing out that in the EU, someone producing a product with a GI has to meet rigorous standards in order to be able to use the name. This is touted as some sort of evidence that GIs are useful. I fail to see the relationship. It is entirely possible to have requirements that a product must meet in terms of taste, consistency, size, shape, color, nutritional content, etc, without having those requirements tied to a certain location. That's how things are run in the US. That's how Americans expect them to be done. As such, the American system of labelling food is the system that best confers information about that food to American consumers. I see no reason for the government to change the system to make it worse at conferring information about food to American consumers.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!

Cheddar (5.00 / 3) (#415)
by lordpixel on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:28:21 PM EST

Well, I'm British and I don't think I know anyone in the UK who would assume Cheddar chesse actually came from Cheddar unless it specifically said so. Infact, just like in the US it tends to say "English Cheddar", "Canadian Cheddar" etc. It might also state where exactly it was made if its gourmet stuff, but the generic supermarket crap certainly doesn't.

We've had this problem with the protectionists on the continent for years. They tried for 20 years to ban UK chocolate from being called chocolate because of a lack of cocoa content. (Which is not to say that the British don't have their own share of protectionists).

I can't speak of every country in Europe, but my suspicion is that this is mostly a load of hot air. I very much doubt most Europeans are aware of the geographical origins of most of their food, outside of a few regional odds and ends.

I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
[ Parent ]

Cocoa content? (5.00 / 1) (#443)
by epepke on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:14:29 AM EST

They tried for 20 years to ban UK chocolate from being called chocolate because of a lack of cocoa content.

I find that strange. I've had English chocolates, and they're quite good. There's got to be some cocoa in there.

On the other hand, that Wall's stuff that's sold as "ice cream" but only has homeopathic quantities of milk, the formula's having been invented during the War to make use of the fact that lard was more abundant than milk, while enjoable in its own way (esp. with a Flake stuck in), isn't ice cream.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Its was the content .... (5.00 / 1) (#451)
by craigtubby on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:31:45 PM EST

It was about the content of cocoa, and the amount of milk.

In the end, I think, British chocolate in Europe has to be labelled "Household Chocolate"

But did you know wine from certain grapes (hybrid ones) isn't wine?  The wine producing nations got together and made it so only certain types of grape can be called wine.

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

Yes and did you know (5.00 / 1) (#460)
by iasius on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:46:35 PM EST

that you are not allowed to say on a wine bottle in germany that it's wine? There are rules about what should be on the bottle and saying it's wine is not one of them. A company had problems with that because they usually made a champagner(-like) beverage, but branched out into wines. They wanted to make clear to customers that their new product was wine, but couldn't. Darn regulators, always finding new stuff to regulate so they don't lose their jobs.


the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
Cheddar Not on The List (4.60 / 10) (#370)
by craigtubby on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:49:52 AM EST

Tabloid journalism at it's best .... Cheddar isn't on the list of protected products, as it's now deemed too generic (yes, even in Europe there is some common sense).  Anyway the full list of european items the EU were proposing is

WINES

Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Chablis, Champagne, Graves, Médoc, Saint-Emilion, Sauternes, Liebfrau(en)milch, Moselle, Rhin - can be used by any of traditional wine-producing areas, Chianti, Marsala, Rioja, Malaga

OTHER WINES, SPIRITS

Cognac, Grappa (di Barolo, del Piemonte, di Lombardia, del Trentino, del Friuli, del Veneto, dell'Alto Adige), Ouzo, Madeira, Porto, Jerez (Xerez)

CHEESE

Asiago, Gorgonzola, Grana Padano, Fontina, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Comte, Reblochon, Roquefort, Feta, Queijo Sao Jorge, Manchego

MEAT-BASED PRODUCTS

Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Daniele, Prosciutto Toscano, Mortadella Bologna

OTHERS

Azafran de la Mancha (saffron), Jijona y Turron de Alicante (an almond sweet)

Of course, this list would grow (I don't see Stilton on there, or Newcastle Brown Ale) and other countries would add to it.

I personally agree with this - Californian vinyards making a dry white sparkling wine and calling it "Champagne" are just trading on the name.  They could have just have easily called it "Tahoe", but of course no one would know what that is.

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *

Reading that list (5.00 / 3) (#373)
by nebbish on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:56:43 AM EST

You can see how it makes sense. These are all regional delicacies that will rely to some extent on the peculiarities of their respective regions - climate, the way climate effects their ingrediants (eg, grapes in the case of the wines), history of expertese (all these foods go through certain processes - they couldn't be factory-made with any accuracy).

This isn't protectionism (although obviously the regions will benifit) - it is trading standards and quality control.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

yes, it is protectionism (5.00 / 1) (#461)
by werner on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:50:30 PM EST

while some products may depend on the region for a certain something, like water, which cannot be easily replicated elsewhere, very many products can be made just as well, or even better, in other places.

do you honestly believe that all the ham made in parma is good? better than any other "parma" ham made elsewhere?

people rely on brand to identify quality, not where something was made. this is just another example of the eu pandering to wealthy farmers in much the same way the us government likes to oblige large companies.

it is not about trading standards or quality control. if it were, surely they would have been mentioned at some point when the eu suggested the measures.

[ Parent ]

Brand? (5.00 / 1) (#475)
by dawtrina on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:08:23 PM EST

Some of us automatically switch off whenever brand names are thrown down our throat. Personally I avoid them like the plague.

I've spent three months at a time for a couple of years travelling around the USA. I've tried to sample traditional local fare wherever I've been but I asked the locals who I stayed with as to what was worth eating and what wasn't.

I'll be damned if I'll walk into a store and buy something just because it has an advertising promotion built round it.
'The days up and down they come, like rain on a conga drum Forget most, remember some, but don't turn none away' - Townes van Zandt
[ Parent ]

not "advertising", "brands" (5.00 / 1) (#504)
by werner on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:13:46 PM EST

i'm not talking about kraft or mcdonalds here.

there is more than one manufacturer of parma ham in parma. some are great, many are worse. merely being from parma does not guarantee good ham.

my point is that champagne only means it is champagne, and in europe, that it was made in the champagne region of france. there are still good and bad champagnes. this is why people say, "bring my a bolinger" and not just "bring me champagne".

just because something is "authentic" doesn't mean it's better than a similar product made elsewhere. for me, parma ham means a type of ham, not ham from parma (there are surely other types of ham in parma, no?).

there is no reason why i couldn't open a boiled ham factory in parma and sell it as parma ham. these laws are completely arse about tit.

as you say, local fare is generally much better than packaged shite from the supermarket. for me, however, i would say that a wiener schnitzel lovingly and freshly prepared in my local restaurant is much better than an genuine wiener schnitzel pummeled together from pork waste and packaged in vienna.

[ Parent ]

West Coast Wine (5.00 / 2) (#406)
by jjbelsky on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:52:17 PM EST

Look at the old ads from when sparkling white wine production started in California! They called it "Sparkling California." The word "Champagne" wasn't used at all. I think that's a great idea.

[ Parent ]
So really there ... (5.00 / 2) (#433)
by craigtubby on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 05:28:06 AM EST

Is no problem with this list then, if no one is using the word "Champagne" then what does it matter if it's protected?

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

Only the start (5.00 / 1) (#424)
by jjayson on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:34:20 AM EST

The proposal was to create a registry that would grow. As I said, the EU already has 2,100 GIs. We would expect them to make their way into the international registry. Yes, it was only to start with 60-some GIs, but the real action was the creation of the registry that would create new GIs.
_______
Smile =)
Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by mo
[ Parent ]
Yes it would grow ... (5.00 / 1) (#432)
by craigtubby on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 05:26:19 AM EST

But Cheddar still wouldn't be on there - it's not on the current European list because it was too generic.

As I pointed out, Newcastle Brown Ale isn't on there - and no doubt it will be if it ever gets accepted.

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

newcastle brown ale (5.00 / 1) (#459)
by werner on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:39:55 PM EST

is a trademark. one beer made by one brewery. it is not a local speciality and is not affected by this.

[ Parent ]
Calling Newcastle brown... (5.00 / 1) (#483)
by TaoJones on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:50:30 AM EST

...an ale is a stretch. If you want an ale, try a Chimay, a Unibroue, or a nice bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale. Newcastle is pretty much brunette Budweiser. If you want to make love in a canoe, go for it...

---

"The line between genius and stupidity is very fine indeed, but you're so far away from the line that it doesn't matter."

FluffyGrue

[ Parent ]

Newcastle Brown Ale is already protected (4.50 / 2) (#486)
by craigtubby on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 05:18:51 AM EST

Of course, if you are right and I am wrong, you better tell the EU and Defra, as they say it's a protected geographic indicator.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/foodname/uk.htm

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

Indeed it is protected (5.00 / 1) (#490)
by werner on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 08:53:25 AM EST

as you say. funny that a scottish company should apply to have an english speciality protected.

nevertheless, any other company trying to market a drink as "newcastle brown ale" will quickly find themselves on the end of a trademark-infringement lawsuit. that's why there is only one newcastle brown ale.

so, i guess we're both right, except i was wrong, too.

[ Parent ]

There must be a reason though .... (4.50 / 2) (#492)
by craigtubby on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 09:19:30 AM EST

As to why they wanted it as a GI, I think there is probably something somewhere which says that thay can't trademark "Newcastle Brown Ale" by itself - the star logo probably has to be there as well, so they wanted extra protection to stop anyone just opening up and making thier version of "newcastle brown ale".  

They at least have the protection of the competition having to be from Newcastle.

try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

* Webpage *
[ Parent ]

i'm not sure why (5.00 / 1) (#500)
by werner on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:50:58 PM EST

but i did just enjoy an enlightening beer with an ex-employee of scottish and newcastle (who brew newcastle brown). it is definitely a trademark.

i would guess that by having the name protected, all the brewery would have to worry about is impersonators from newcastle, as you say. they would be trivial to eliminate via the british courts. any foreign would-be newcastle brown ale vendors would then be taken care of by the eu. i suppose they're kinda outsourcing their international legal department.

[ Parent ]

not common sense (5.00 / 1) (#462)
by werner on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:56:07 PM EST

Cheddar isn't on the list of protected products, as it's now deemed too generic (yes, even in Europe there is some common sense).

this isn't common sense. it reeks rather of anti-british sentiment. there isn't a single british product on that list. as you say, no stilton, also any other number of cheeses are missing, no lancashire sausages, no cornish pasties, no welsh rarebit, even no scotch. i'm no food expert, so there are bound to be a thousand other examples which don't occur to me.

i also don't see any dutch, danish or irish specialities mentioned and only a couple of german wines. this is another example of the eu being stitched up by the farmers' governments (france, italy, spain etc.)

[ Parent ]

The UK maintains no GIs (4.50 / 2) (#489)
by nrbrookes on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 06:17:54 AM EST

The UK has withdrawn all requests for geographic indicators on its products. The reason for having them is the nonsense thaath happens with parma ham: ham from Parma cannot be sold as such in Canada where it is a trademark.

[ Parent ]
The Power of Cheese... (5.00 / 3) (#485)
by TaoJones on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:35:51 AM EST

Customer: Good Morning.

Owner: Good morning, Sir. Welcome to the National Cheese Emporium!

Customer: Ah, thank you, my good man.

Owner: What can I do for you, Sir?

Customer: Well, I was, uh, sitting in the public library on Thurmon Street just now, skimming through Rogue Herrys by Hugh Walpole, and I suddenly came over all peckish.

Owner: Peckish, sir?

Customer: Esuriant.

Owner: Eh?

Customer: 'Ee, ah wor 'ungry-loike!

Owner: Ah, hungry!

Customer: In a nutshell. And I thought to myself, "a little fermented curd will do the trick," so, I curtailed my Walpoling activites, sallied forth, and infiltrated your place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some cheesy comestibles!

Owner: Come again?

Customer: I want to buy some cheese.

Owner: Oh, I thought you were complaining about the bazouki player!

Customer: Oh, heaven forbid: I am one who delights in all manifestations of the Terpsichorean muse!

Owner: Sorry?

Customer: 'Ooo, Ah lahk a nice tuune, 'yer forced too!

Owner: So he can go on playing, can he?

Customer: Most certainly! Now then, some cheese please, my good man.

Owner: (lustily) Certainly, sir. What would you like?

Customer: Well, eh, how about a little red Leicester.

Owner: I'm, a-fraid we're fresh out of red Leicester, sir.

Customer: Oh, never mind, how are you on Tilsit?

Owner: I'm afraid we never have that at the end of the week, sir, we get it fresh on Monday.

Customer: Tish tish. No matter. Well, stout yeoman, four ounces of Caerphilly, if you please.

Owner: Ah! It's beeeen on order, sir, for two weeks. Was expecting it this morning.

Customer: 'T's Not my lucky day, is it? Aah, Bel Paese?

Owner: Sorry, sir.

Customer: Red Windsor?

Owner: Normally, sir, yes. Today the van broke down.

Customer: Ah. Stilton?

Owner: Sorry.

Customer: Ementhal? Gruyere?

Owner: No.

Customer: Any Norweigan Jarlsburg, per chance.

Owner: No.

Customer: Lipta?

Owner: No.

Customer: Lancashire?

Owner: No.

Customer: White Stilton?

Owner: No.

Customer: Danish Brew?

Owner: No.

Customer: Double Goucester?

Owner: (pause) No.

Customer: Cheshire?

Owner: No.

Customer: Dorset Bluveny?

Owner: No.

Customer: Brie, Roquefort, Pol le Veq, Port Salut, Savoy Aire, Saint Paulin, Carrier de lest, Bres Bleu, Bruson?

Owner: No.

Customer: Camenbert, perhaps?

Owner: Ah! We have Camenbert, yessir.

Customer: (suprised) You do! Excellent.

Owner: Yessir. It's..ah,.....it's a bit runny...

Customer: Oh, I like it runny.

Owner: Well,.. It's very runny, actually, sir.

Customer: No matter. Fetch hither the fromage de la Belle France! Mmmwah!

Owner: I...think it's a bit runnier than you'll like it, sir.

Customer: I don't care how fucking runny it is. Hand it over with all speed.

Owner: Oooooooooohhh........! (pause)

Customer: What now?

Owner: The cat's eaten it.

Customer: (pause) Has he.

Owner: She, sir.

Customer: (pause) Gouda?

Owner: No.

Customer: Edam?

Owner: No.

Customer: Case Ness?

Owner: No.

Customer: Smoked Austrian?

Owner: No.

Customer: Japanese Sage Darby?

Owner: No, sir.

Customer: You...do *have* some cheese, don't you?

Owner: (brightly) Of course, sir. It's a cheese shop, sir. We've got--

Customer: No no... don't tell me. I'm keen to guess.

Owner: Fair enough.

Customer: Uuuuuh, Wensleydale.

Owner: Yes?

Customer: Ah, well, I'll have some of that!

Owner: Oh! I thought you were talking to me, sir. Mister Wensleydale, that's my name.

Customer: (pause) Greek Feta?

Owner: Uh, not as such.

Customer: Uuh, Gorgonzola?

Owner: No.

Customer: Parmesan,

Owner: No.

Customer: Mozarella,

Owner: No.

Customer: Paper Cramer,

Owner: No.

Customer: Danish Bimbo,

Owner: No.

Customer: Czech sheep's milk,

Owner: No.

Customer: Venezuelan Beaver Cheese?

Owner: Not *today*, sir, no.

Customer: (pause) Aah, how about Cheddar?

Owner: Well, we don't get much call for it around here, sir.

Customer: Not much ca-- it's the single most popular cheese in the world!

Owner: Not 'round here, sir.

Customer: (slight pause) and what IS the most popular cheese 'round hyah?

Owner: 'Illchester, sir.

Customer: IS it.

Owner: Oh, yes, it's staggeringly popular in this manor, squire.

Customer: Is it.

Owner: It's our number one best seller, sir!

Customer: I see. Uuh...'Illchester, eh?

Owner: Right, sir.

Customer: All right. Okay. 'Have you got any?' he asked, expecting the answer 'no'.

Owner: I'll have a look, sir........nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnno.

Customer: It's not much of a cheese shop, is it?

Owner: Finest in the district!

Customer: Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

Owner: Well, it's so clean, sir!

Customer: It's certainly uncontaminated by cheese....

Owner: (brightly) You haven't asked me about Limburger, sir.

Customer: Would it be worth it?

Owner: Could be....

Customer: Have you --SHUT THAT BLOODY BAZOUKI OFF!

Owner: Told you sir....

Customer: (slowly) Have you got any Limburger?

Owner: No.

Customer: Figures.Predictable, really I suppose. It was an act of purest optimism to have posed the question in the first place. Tell me:

Owner: Yessir?

Customer: (deliberately) Have you in fact got any cheese here at all.

Owner: Yes, sir.

Customer: Really?

(pause)

Owner: No. Not really, sir.

Customer: You haven't.

Owner: Nosir. Not a scrap. I was deliberately wasting your time, sir.

Customer: Well I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to shoot you.

Owner: Right-Oh, sir.

(The customer takes out a gun and shoots the owner)

Customer: What a *senseless* waste of human life.

[ Parent ]

Gosh (3.66 / 3) (#372)
by wji on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 11:56:27 AM EST

Thank you for drawing my attention to the plight of bourgeois American farmers threatened by silly ass labelling laws. Previously I was worried about third worlders starving to death because of protectionist EU/US agribusiness policy. I appreciate having my priorities set straight. Also, I'm getting an uncontrollable urge to make jokes about cheese eating surrender monkeys. I love Big Brother.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
Excellent! That will make hamburgers illegal in US (3.66 / 3) (#375)
by grzebo on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 12:00:20 PM EST

[nt]


"My God, shouts man to Himself,
have mercy on me, enlighten me"...
Holy national chauvinism, Batman! (4.00 / 5) (#386)
by cr8dle2grave on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 01:44:19 PM EST

We Americans are constantly berated by enlightened Europeans for our mindless patriotic fervor, but the mere mention of a traditional moldy dairy food product is enough to make the resident Euros behave like drunk hooligans cheering on their local club.

Anyhow folks, a little bit of common sense reflection on the the way language works is sufficient to clear the air here. Without getting into all the messy details of Wittgenstien's argument, can we just accept that meaning is determined by usage? While common European usage of the term "Parmesan" may well include the meaning | a distinctive type of cheese made in the Parma region of Italy |, in America the common usage of the term can be boiled down to something along the lines of | that chessy white powder I heap on my Pizza |. In European usage, "Parmesan" may indicate a certain level of quality and subtle gastronomic attributes derived from the specific geography and climate of Parma, whereas American usage is far less precise; it's just a chessy white powder.

To claim that even one in a hundred Americans has any idea that Parmesan cheese is in any way traditionally associated with the region of Parma is to pay far too much credit to my fellow countrymen. Hell, it's highly doubtful that one in  a hundred Americans knows that Parma even exists, much less that it's in Italy. So for all those claiming that using the name "Parmesan" for our peculiar synthetic cheese food product [1] is somehow tantamount to trademark dilution, keep in mind that Parma has no reputation whatsoever, good or bad, in America.

[1] Believe it or not, that is an actual phrase which appears on the labels of many so-called Cheeses in American markets.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


What, Parma, Ohio? (nt) (5.00 / 1) (#398)
by randyk on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 04:26:39 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Europe (5.00 / 1) (#421)
by wij on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 10:33:42 PM EST

I don't think anyone defines parmesan cheese as cheese produced in Parma, Italy except the cheesemakers in Parma and the EU. Supermarkets in Britain are having to rename the same cheese that they used to sell as parmesan to comply with EU regulations, and I get the impression that many Britons aren't happy with this and the confusion it causes, since they just want the cheese, and they don't care that it wasn't made in Parma.

synthetic cheese food product [1]

They make synthetic parmesan? I didn't know that. I thought the only synthetic stuff was ez-cheese and other stuff that comes in pressurized cans.

"I am an intellectual of great merit, yet I am not adequately compensated for this by capitalism; this is the reason for my opposition to it."
[ Parent ]

As the author of this story... (5.00 / 1) (#423)
by jjayson on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 12:28:13 AM EST

I can tell you that before I started reading I had no idea that cheddar came from Cheddar, England (and you can tell when I wrote the story all I knew was that it came from someplace in England); that parmesan was named after Parma, Italy (although I did know about Parma ham); and many other examples. (I did know about regional varietals of wine though.)

I am pretty much an average American in most respects too.
_______
Smile =)
Given the culinary lineage of its former colonial masters, America's "theft" of other nation's cuisines is considered by mo
[ Parent ]

hold on there one second... (5.00 / 1) (#457)
by werner on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:21:04 PM EST

i remember when the eu introduced these regulations way back when, and every englishman i knew thought it was a huge crock of shit dreamt up by the french and italian farmers, which it was.

bear in mind that europe is still made up of many countries, who all have different interests at heart. the british (public) have wanted to do seriously cut back eu farming subsidies ever since they were introduced.

billions basically flow straight out of the british and german treasuries into the pockets of french farmers. naturally, the french fight tooth and nail to keep the subsidies and the germans, as always, back them up.

many europeans think the eu is a pile of crap, too. as has been noted, they've taken our cornish pasties ('cept the ones from cornwall) and our cheddar cheese('cept from cheddar), but they've taken out gallons and our pounds and ounces, too. all we have left is the pint of beer and new pence. we'll soon only be left with our pint.

[ Parent ]

New Pence (5.00 / 1) (#476)
by tjb on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:58:04 PM EST

<i>they've taken out gallons and our pounds and ounces, too. all we have left is the pint of beer and new pence. we'll soon only be left with our pint.</i>

As an American who occassionally travels to the UK (usually business, though I did take a brief holiday in London when I was on a European business trip in July), I wish to thank you for adopting new pence.  

With new pence, I can confidently count my change and know if I can afford a beer.  With new pence, I can give mixed change to an exact amount.

While I have never actually used old pence (when was it abandoned, btw?), from the descriptions I've read I assume I would just have to accept the fact that I'm a total moron, put a bunch of change in my hand, and let the cashier count it out :)

Now, if you could just get some sane sizing on those coins (the 50 pence, especially - feels like a 2-pound coin in my pocket for some reason), everything would be perfect.  Not that we do any better here in the states, but you hardly ever see $0.50 or $1 pieces, so that simplifies things a great deal (only the dime is out of place, and none of the coins are the size of a dinner plate).

Tim

[ Parent ]

Pounds, shillings, pence not so bad (5.00 / 1) (#482)
by epepke on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:13:28 AM EST

When I first started going to England, one- and two-shilling coins were still in circulation, and the 5 new pence and 10 new pence coins were the same size (they're smaller now.) They also had 1/2 New Pence coins, and even all the electronic cash registers could handle this.

But, anyway, the old system wasn't so bad. It just had a major division of 20 instead of 10, and a fiddling small change division of 12 instead of 10.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
what about guineas? (5.00 / 1) (#502)
by werner on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:03:18 PM EST

the old system was really crazy. 240 pence to the pound. 1 pound = 20 shillings. and then posh shops didn't charge in pounds, they charged in guineas (1 guinea = 1 pound + 1 shilling).

thankfully, i am too young to remember old pence, but i do take immense joy in explaining the intricacies of the imperial system to my german students (a pint of water weighs a pound and a quarter).

what i've never understood is why the americans stuck with the imperial system (which over here is only used in britain) but then insisted on changing the measures. why is a us gallon not the same as a british gallon?

[ Parent ]

the point of british money (5.00 / 1) (#501)
by werner on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:58:40 PM EST

is not to simplify things: british money is designed in that way to make it easily identifiable for blind and visually impaired folk. each coin is recognizable through its size or shape (how can you confuse a 2 pound coin with 50p - 50p pieces have corners?). the same applies to notes. a 10 pound note is bigger than a 5, and a 20 bigger still etc. imagine the nightmare blind people have in the us, where they can't differentiate between their notes.

a lack of any given coin in circulation, to my mind, is more indicative of pricing policies than of and treasury-led masterplan: if enough things cost 3.99 and 8.99 etc. you will need a lot of pound coins.

[ Parent ]

50p vs 2 Pound (5.00 / 1) (#510)
by tjb on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 10:41:36 PM EST

While I mostly agree with you, I think my utter confusion with 50p coins and 2 pound coins is that, being a Yank, I usually don't go searching for corners when I reach into my pocket - feeling the edge will tell a nickel from a quarter, but all of the coins I'm used to handling are round so I mostly feel for size and edge texture.  Weird bias, I know, but you probably don't feel the rough edge of US quarters either - I think its one of those things you have to get used to (though maybe you do, 10p coins have the rough edge, and are roughly the same size as a 2p coin).  But I'm not kidding when I say it gets me every time - "OOh, ooh, hold on, I have 2 pounds... oops, sorry.."  :)

As far as the $.50 and $1 coins in the US, I think it is more a product of treasury-led master plan (and the fact that vending machines don't accept them) than of prices - they simply son't make very many, so people tend to consider them rare and throw them into a drawer and hold onto them for their grandchildren.  You never go into a bank with a check for $41 dollars and get 2 20's and a $1 coin - you'll always get a bill simply because the bank doesn't have access to the coins.  The only place where you'll $0.50 and $1 coins is the post office.  Why?  I don't know - but it is weird that when i'm in Europe I have to remind myself that I have real money in my right pocket while in the US my real money is in my wallet.  Nothing particularly wrong either way, and I can deal with it no problem after a 1-2 days of readjustment when I visit, but it is a bit different.

Tim

[ Parent ]

Vending machines and $1 coins (5.00 / 1) (#513)
by Ray Chason on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 05:47:18 AM EST

Certain vending machines give $1 coins in their change.  These include the stamp machines at the post office, as you mentioned.  In Baltimore, the machines that sell tickets for the light rail system also give $1 coins.  These machines also accept the $1 coins as payment.

These are usually the Sacagawea dollars with the golden color.  Occasionally one sees the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which to a vending machine is indistinguishable from the Sacagawea.  I haven't seen the larger Eisenhower dollar in some years.

Once in a great while I get a 50 cent piece in my change.

I don't think the Treasury is involved in some master plan -- they made a metric buttload of Anthony dollars, and had to warehouse them because no one wanted them.
--
The War on Terra is not meant to be won.
Delendae sunt RIAA, MPAA et Windoze
[ Parent ]

Parmesan is not "cheesy white powder" ! (5.00 / 1) (#491)
by thewookie on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 08:57:43 AM EST

"American usage is far less precise; it's just a chessy white powder" - What? - Parmesan is a hard cheese you buy in large chunks - what's white powder bit got to do with anything. I suppose it'd be almost powdery if you grated it but then it'd be more yellowy than white and you'ld have to grate it pretty fine?

To me this supports the idea that some kind of distinction is important. If I visit the US and ask for some parmesan in a restaurant, I don't want some 'cheesy white powder' turning up? Or I buy a salad with parmesan... I'm expecting shavings not powder. I've been let down along these lines before - bought some stuff labeled as 'Premium Cheddar' once on a visit to the US and it was rubbery tasteless junk - if Cheddar was a brand you'd sue under trades description act!

Seems to me that American usage is far more precise as it appears you are applying some subset of parmesan to the group in general.

As an aside I did read somewhere that older US tourists are warned not to eat European cheese (don't know if this still goes on) - Seems some have become very ill in the past because their constitutions can't handle the bacteria which give the flavour & texture - too long eating the sterile tasteless US junk probably.

[ Parent ]
Then why did they first misrepresent it as Parma? (5.00 / 1) (#511)
by felixrayman on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 11:32:53 PM EST

Parma has no reputation now because not many people in the US know what real Parma is. Originally, the people who labelled cheese that wasn't Parma as being Parma did so because Parma did have a reputation. They destroyed the reputation in the process. If you are going to argue otherwise, tell me, why was cheese that was not in any way shape or form Parma cheese marketed in the US as "Parmesan"?

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
The good old days (3.00 / 2) (#389)
by Robb on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 02:34:48 PM EST

Makes you hanker after the good old days here in the US when "cheese" didn't even need to contain milk.

Greece should sue porno spammers (3.40 / 5) (#390)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:10:29 PM EST

For promising hot steamy videos with barely legal lesbians in them. Very few of these videos actually contain women from Lesbos.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!

What's the difference (4.37 / 8) (#394)
by the on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 03:35:24 PM EST

An Italian butcher came to America with his family and the knowledge of how to make a Parma ham, so he made it in the traditional style that he always has. How is this any different from being made in Italy?
There's probably a big difference. It's probably crap. My experience with any Italian Parma ham is pretty bad. I don't know if it's because immigrants forget the old ways or, more likely, Italian immigrants were forced to adapt their recipes for the barbarian Germanic and Anglo-Saxon customers they had to deal with. (Oh, and before anyone starts getting ideas about me being anti-American let me say that in general I think American food is the best in the world, at least it is on the left and right coasts.)

But that's a digression: if someone can find a market for crap Parma-like ham and wants to label it "Parma-like" then I can't see a problem. But labeling it unqualifiedly "Parma ham", without qualification, is simply a lie.

Digression: there was a great story on This American Life a few weeks ago about a hot dog factory that moved to a new location. They just couldn't reproduce the original taste. All the equipment was the same, the recipe was the same, the suppliers of ingredients were the same, what could have gone wrong? Eventually they tracked it down: the dogs were carried by some guy from one room to another at one stage in the process. He took quite a long journey in and out through several rooms. It was the waiting time that nobody realized was important. If moving a few miles to a new factory makes a difference I expect moving 5000 miles makes even more of a difference. Eventually the 'simulated' the hot dog journey and everything was fine and dandy again.

--
The Definite Article

That sounds like a mangling of the McDonald's.. (5.00 / 2) (#404)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:48:31 PM EST

The story is that when Krock bought the McDonald's chain from the McDonald brothers, he couldn't duplicate the taste of the fries at any of the new restaurants. It turned out that the brothers were storing their potatoes in a spot that dehydrated them before they were sliced.

Note that once Krock figured that out, he had no problem duplicating the taste at every single McDonald's.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
I don't think so... (5.00 / 1) (#413)
by the on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 06:17:42 PM EST

It was reported as a first-hand story. I can actually give a reference. Their web site is currently down but look at the back issues here for an episode with title something like "Thirty Acts in Sixty Minutes". Some of these stories were fiction (and reported as such) but I don't believe this one was.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
I do like "This American Life" (5.00 / 1) (#441)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:59:23 AM EST

Although I don't listen to it so much since the original narrator left. (Ira Glass?)

I'll look for it.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
Ira Glass is still the host of the show (5.00 / 1) (#452)
by ethereal on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:22:09 PM EST

Or at least he was this past weekend. But he doesn't necessarily do every piece that they air.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Are you sure? (5.00 / 1) (#472)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:40:59 PM EST

I'd swear I remember hearing him give his "this is my last episode" speech earlier this year...


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
I guess it could be (5.00 / 1) (#496)
by ethereal on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 12:51:00 PM EST

It might have been a rerun this past weekend. I don't catch it every single week so maybe I missed something.

It would be hard to imagine without him.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

I checked the site - it still lists him as.. (5.00 / 1) (#503)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 03:12:07 PM EST

the boss. Maybe he's just cutting back on the on-air stuff (as you mentioned, he no longer narrates every single piece).


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
It's sometimes good, though (5.00 / 1) (#447)
by epepke on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 10:13:08 AM EST

The best Polish sausages are made in Michigan. You have the immigrants with the old recipes, plus access to excellent meat from Midwestern stockyards.

Similarly, the best Indian food is to be had in England, for a similar reason. English lamb, for instance, is as far as I can tell the finest in the world by a large margin. However, despite popular belief, their beef isn't so hot. The best British beef is "Scotch" beef, but the Scots have the good sense to eat the good stuff and only ship the crap to the English. So, the best steak houses use Argentinian beef. The high-quality Argentinian beef, plus aging during the sea voyage and exposure to a salty atmosphere, makes something truly fabulous.

French wines are pretty good, but they got even better when they switched to American root stock. Few French vinyards don't use American root stock these days. The American varieties of grapes, like concord grapes and scuppernongs, aren't very good for making wine. However, their resistant roots, grafted onto a more traditional wine grape, make something great.

Even using examples from the discussion, Parma ham is largely made from Danish pigs and represents a significant improvement over the Danish canned ham.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Meh... (3.00 / 3) (#407)
by gnovos on Mon Sep 15, 2003 at 05:53:39 PM EST

I'm sure there are tiny municipalties all over the world who would readily rename thier towns on a whim if it would give them a slice of the profits.  Maybe that would eb a new cottage industry?  Have a town that changes it's name every 15 seconds as a particular truck passes through?

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
Except... (5.00 / 1) (#435)
by Betcour on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:31:49 AM EST

It wouldn't work. GIs are tied to a local tradition and production, not just to the name of the place. It has to be done were it is traditionnaly done, the way it is traditionnaly made.

[ Parent ]
Hmmmm... (5.00 / 2) (#466)
by gnovos on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 03:22:11 PM EST

What if my region has a long and honored tradition of stealing the trademarks of other places?  :)

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
been done (5.00 / 1) (#488)
by thewookie on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 06:10:35 AM EST

Don't know the details but I believe there's a town in Japan named 'Sheffield' so that the cutlery produced there could be stamped with the legend 'Made in Sheffield'. Might be an urban myth (although a bit of an odd one).

FYI, Sheffield is a city in the UK historically renown for quality cutlery production.

[ Parent ]
There's also a town named "Usa". [nt] (5.00 / 1) (#505)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 04:31:58 PM EST


___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Made me think... (3.00 / 2) (#429)
by the77x42 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 01:45:31 AM EST

... There's a town in Alberta called "Balzac". I just thought it'd be funny if they sold water and called it "Balzac water".


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

I think (3.25 / 4) (#434)
by GfreshMofo on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:02:23 AM EST

the french started this bullshit with champangne but i could be wrong

He also took from American books ... Shakespeare ... Classic

That's how I remember it. (5.00 / 1) (#440)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:58:04 AM EST

But not just Champagne - all the french varieties were included.


--
Heinz was quoted as saying: "But the sheep are so soft and wooley," immediately before he was put into custody.


[ Parent ]
schuuups (5.00 / 1) (#448)
by blakdogg on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 11:24:35 AM EST

This "bullshit" governs the labeling of most spirits. This is one of the purposes of the ATF. You can start by observing the rules concerning the use of the word bourbon.

http://www.pinkiesonline.com/whiskey.htm
Woe be onto the United Nations, there nothing but a front.
[ Parent ]

".... illiberal farm policies...." (3.66 / 3) (#436)
by Niha on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:21:11 AM EST

   Who did say that? Not that it is not true, But, as far as I´m concerned, EU is not the only one with such politics...

-1 Too seppo-centric (1.75 / 8) (#438)
by I Hate Seppos on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:25:39 AM EST

You seppos may shove any greasy old shit into your fac fucking mouths, but the rest of us have standards and taste. Look them up in the dictionary.

____________________
Are you a retarded water-on-the-brain seppo that doesn't even know what a seppo is?
Well, here's a hint, fuckface: what rhymes with septic tank?

This is called 'QA' I believe (3.66 / 3) (#458)
by fritz the cat on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 02:30:52 PM EST

What if an unknown local rock band from, say, Australia  started releasing atrocious singles in Japan under the name 'Coldplay'*, pretending to be them ? Wouldn't the original band and their record company sue the arse off the Australian pretenders?
And what about patent protection? Who said that only software or industrial processes are to be protected by copyright?

Europe is simply trying to protect its culture and to ensure the quality of its food products.
There are not many things worse than a McDonald's 'italian' burger, which then turnt out to be the same shit as a normal one but the cheese slice is slightly more rubbery and is made with a food colouring of a lighter shade (well, allright, there are many worse things).

Food is not just about the production techniques, it's also about the climate of the place where it was grown. Even in Italy, a trained Italian cheese maker can only make Parmesan cheese in Parma. If s/he makes it somewhere else, it will be called something else - Grana Padano in the north for example. That's because the climate in Parma is deemed to be perfect for making cheese.

If that trained Italian cheese maker decides to go and make cheese in the gobi desert and the climate there is even more perfect for cheese making, than he will have a superior product he can market as he wishes - but not as 'Parmesan Cheese', because it isn't.

I think not only food but other aspects of a country culture's should be protected - what about mythology, for example? That would slow down the Disneyfication of culture (no more crap Hercules or Aladdin movies in which nobody ever dies and all the people with facial hair are baddies).

------------------------------------------
* I do not mean to start a thread about Coldplay, I don't listen to them and I don't care

DOING NOTHING FUCKING SOMETHING

agreed (5.00 / 1) (#467)
by Jack McCoy on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 04:15:37 PM EST

I think not only food but other aspects of a country culture's should be protected

I agree - please, no more European rap.

The US needs to protect our musical heritage, seeing as we invented rock, r&b, hip-hop, jazz, soul, blues, bluegrass, gospel, disco, folk, country, techno, etc.  I don't think it's fair to call something rock when it wasn't even produced in the area rock originated in.  The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie - all very fine acts in their own way, but not rock music.  "Rock-like", perhaps, but even that is misleading to the consumer.  Europe has established musical traditions: that of Bach, Beethoven and the like, not to mention some fine polkas, waltzes, and drinking songs.  European musicians, surely understanding the need of the US to keep a tight leash on our musical styles, can content themselves with playing thoses traditional types of music. After all, its the small, local, musicians who are most hurt by the second-rate European knock-offs.

Please support Geographic Indicators for Music. And remember, if it's not from America, it probably sucks.
-- Jack
[ Parent ]

I would understand (5.00 / 1) (#468)
by iasius on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 05:07:33 PM EST

your complaint if american rappers called their music american rap or something and not just rap. They don't market it like the origin was particularly important so it isn't. It's not like cheese has to be produced exclusively where it originated, just variants that have long been known for their region of origin should. And please, no more Britney Spears exports to Europe? We would gladly disband all European rap bands if she stopped singing if you can call it that.


the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
Music is not area-specific? (5.00 / 1) (#474)
by Jack McCoy on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 08:00:01 PM EST

The parent comment mentioned cultural artifacts other than food, such as mythology.  Typically these are not called by the name of the place they are from.

As for music being tied to location, which of these makes sense?

  • Country singer from New York
  • Bluegrass musician from Boston
  • Blues singer Beverly Hills
  • Rap artist from suburban north Virgina

    None of them do, because of location.

    Music is very tied to area of location - witness the split between west coast and (the obviously superior) east coast variety.  Witness Chicago blues vs. Texas style.  New Orleans jazz vs. New York jazz.

    As for Miss Spears, its not as if Europe hasn't inflicted the US with its own version of the Dreadful Pop Star: witness ABBA, Robbie Williams, Ace of Base, Oasis, etc.

    -- Jack
    [ Parent ]

  • You didn't quite get what I meant (5.00 / 1) (#478)
    by iasius on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 09:06:09 PM EST

    You describe music that is tied to a location, but what you seem to forget is that the region specific styles have a specific name. Like New Orleans Jazz or west coast rap.
    Same as cheese. Cheese comes from many places in many styles, but cheese from Parma is a special kind that also has a specific name.
    As for my Britney Spears comment, that was an answer to your "please, no more European rap."


    the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
    [ Parent ]
    Well (5.00 / 1) (#473)
    by CENGEL3 on Tue Sep 16, 2003 at 07:45:51 PM EST

    I guess it's a good idea we renamed them "freedom fries" then.....

    Seriously, I hate when people stick a "Do Not Trespass" sign on words. It's bad when Jaguar does it....and it's bad when the city of Parma does it.

    I can understand the legitimate desire to prevent some-one selling a forgery as one of your products. However the line gets drawn at whether a reasonable consumer is able to understand the origin of the product they are about to buy. Once a word passes into common usage no one should be able to claim exclusive rights over it anymore.

    For instance, Apple Computer probably has a legitimate call to prevent another U.S. computer manufacturer from selling another tackly colored computer under the name "Apple"..... but they can't prevent a fruit grower from using the word.

    For better or worse, most of those names on the E.U's protected list have passed into common usage in the U.S. so long ago that most people aren't even aware that they had any other derivation. For the U.S. market, at least, that means their shouldn't be any restrictions on them..... other parts of the world are going to have to base things of what the common understanding is in thier neck of the world.

    People are bright enough to get the concept of context. They know that when some-one says Soda in Dallas, it doesn't neccessarly mean the same thing as when some-one says Soda in Oslo.

    Is This Even Aimed At America? (5.00 / 1) (#497)
    by Wang Yangming on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 01:09:19 PM EST

    I don't even think this is aimed at American farmers at all. At least the wine section does not seem to be. As an earlier poster noted
    Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Chablis, Champagne, Graves, Médoc, Saint-Emilion, Sauternes, Liebfrau(en)milch, Moselle, Rhin - can be used by any of traditional wine-producing areas, Chianti, Marsala, Rioja, Malaga
    are the varietals that are being targeted. These are not the main wines produced by California. I think that these attacks are more likely at the fastest growing exporters: Chile, Australia, and Argentina (To be quite honest though I do not know what varietals are most in abundance these countries and I suspect Australia is hand in hand with the US, EU, and multinational agribusiness on this issue. As a further aside I really like the Shiraz coming out of both Australia and Chile). This was most likely just another attack at smaller producers without the clout of America or Europe. Once again multinational agribusiness manages to side track people away from the real problems.

    i don't think it's aimed at anyone in particular (5.00 / 1) (#499)
    by werner on Wed Sep 17, 2003 at 02:32:34 PM EST

    this is just the eu trying to spread its own internal rules to the rest of the world, much like the usa does.

    [ Parent ]
    Not at australians (none / 0) (#523)
    by dalsen on Mon Sep 29, 2003 at 01:11:38 AM EST

    We do produce some nice reds, mainly shiraz's, cab sauvignon and pinot noir's, and some nice whites - chardonneys and semillions mainly. Apart from champagne, the only other wine on that list I recognized was the mozelle, which is generally sold as a lower-quality wine over here. Unless we produce a lot of the other wine types specifically for export (because there definitely aren't many on the shevles) I really don't think there being a geographical copyright on those wine names would bother us much....

    [ Parent ]
    too late, those names are public now (3.00 / 2) (#512)
    by callmetheraven on Thu Sep 18, 2003 at 12:27:24 AM EST

    This is just another case of intellectual property laws being abused by greedy and unethical people. Similar to the recent case when those losers at Al-Foxeera thought they owned the terms "fair and balanced" and sued Al Franken (and lost). Or when Amazon tried to patent the "one click" thing on their website. Some fuckers are even trying to patent the human genome!

    Al-Foxeera, the EU, and plenty of other companies and their lawyers remind me of a spoiled two year old trying to grab a toy belonging to another child while screaming "MINE MINE MINE" and crying and dancing around in a tantrum. Time to for some spankings, IMHO.

    If someone makes up a piece of language or a new idea and wants to call it theirs, fine.

    But when someone wants to take a piece of language (or idea) that already belongs to the world and claim that it belongs exclusively to them, and the laws permit it, the system has gone horribly wrong and it's time to rewrite the laws to prevent this sort of behavior (and punish the abusers!).

    I blame the patent office in all their stupidity, congress in their stupidity and greed, unethical execs everywhere, and lawyers in general.

    But as long as the laws exist to be abused, I think I should patent the verbs etre, avoir, and allez, plus every conjugated form I can think of, and throw in the articles le, la, les, de, du, and des, and the pronouns je, tu, il, elle, ils, elles, vous and nous, and charge the French each time they are used. Or just forbid them from using them at all. Oh, and also the term "weapons of mass destruction" and charge Bush $1billion for each utterance.

    Napa Valley, China (5.00 / 3) (#514)
    by meehawl on Fri Sep 19, 2003 at 07:39:57 PM EST

    It's different when the shoe is on the other foot. The issue is that the US has not yet managed to accrete enough global respect around its regional specialities -- the European countries have had a bit of a head start on this one. How loud do you think your Napa Valley California wineries will scream when begin trying to export to China and fine that local Chinese companies have registered "Napa Valley" and "Sonoma" and so on. Give it time.

    If you don't know that Feta cheese is from Greece then that's really just displaying your ignorance of cheese. Anything else is just soft goat cheese or, less palatably, a nasty blend of goat and sheep cheese. Sometimes tasty, sometimes not. But "real" Feta cheese from Greece *is* quite distinctive.

    This is just brand imperialism by the US, and a desire to erase the worth and distinctiveness of other non-US brands and symbols while affording protection for US trademarks and brands. 21st century Mercantilism.

    And the pointless conflation of nasty EU farm subsidies with GIs just stinks of some weird anti-EU motivation. Pot, meet kettle.

    Mike Rogers www.meehawl.com

    My parents are farmers in Europe (5.00 / 1) (#518)
    by hugues on Tue Sep 23, 2003 at 08:24:57 PM EST

    Small farmers. They do a special kind of goat cheese which is now protected by an AOC. This comes with a regular audit, by the way, so there is some kind of quality regulation. It did allow them to sell that cheese to supermarkets who knew that the cheese was of good enough quality and distinctive enough not to be drowned by the mass market stuff. My parents think that there is a market for cheap, good enough kind of food under a semi-generic label, and that there is a market for high-quality stuff and that consumers should be able to distinguish between the two. I don't believe that changing the `Kraft Parmesan' label into something a bit blander like `Kraft Parmesan-like cheese' is going to lose Kraft any sale. However the consumer will be reminded that they are not getting the real stuff, which is fair enough. The real stuff might be orders or magnitude more expensive and hard to get, but why not? And what would stop American farmers from developing their own special cheese, and to protect it with AOC-equivalents? Nothing. Then products can start competing on quality, not quantity. Do we want a future where all food taste and look the same or do we want to protect truly distinctive flavours and preparation methods?

    How about if it is truely Parmesan? (none / 0) (#520)
    by ultimai on Wed Sep 24, 2003 at 09:29:19 PM EST

    If a competeing food producer creates the same product as the other company, why does it have to be called "Parmesan-like" when it is truely just Parmesan?

    It's like calling a particular office chair an "office chair" and all the other office chairs a "office chair-like device".  Hello? An office chair is an office chair.  Generic.

    [ Parent ]

    No Its Not (none / 0) (#521)
    by craigtubby on Fri Sep 26, 2003 at 03:24:01 AM EST

    Its someone calling an office chair a "New York Office Chair", while making it in New York.

    Someone else could make an office chair like the "New York Office Chair", but wiould have to call it a "New York-like office chair"

    Lets put it another way - "Californian White Wine", made to the same process in China.

    try to make ends meet, you're a slave to money, then you die.

    * Webpage *
    [ Parent ]

    uh.... (none / 0) (#519)
    by AntiTuX on Wed Sep 24, 2003 at 11:55:57 AM EST

    sorry, fuck that. My grandfather made mozerella cheese here in america for as long as I remember. Same thing with my father. They make extremely high-quality cheese. I'll probably end up eventually taking over the family business, too, even though I'm a techie. Quite frankly, I will refuse to call it mozerella-style cheese. because it *IS* mozerella cheese.
    -- Live Life At 140bpm.
    EU tries to leverage 'geographic indications' at the WTO | 520 comments (474 topical, 46 editorial, 0 hidden)
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