Save Ohio's feta (and Parmesan, Asiago and Muenster), Brown and Portman urge

Cleveland Plain Dealer

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ohio's U.S. senators appreciate a good Greek feta -- or one made in the Buckeye state as well.

So they have joined colleagues in trying to stop the European Union from a trade action that could restrict American cheese makers from using names associated with European cheese-making regions, such as Asiago, Muenster, Parmesan, Provolone and Romano.

At least 11 Ohio cheese-making companies could be affected, according to information from Sen. Sherrod Brown's office. They include Miceli Dairy Products in Cleveland, which makes Ricotta, Parmesan and Romano. In Hiram, Great Lakes Cheese Co. makes a Gorgonzola. And in Millersburg, Heinis Cheese Co. makes Asiago, Brie, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Parmesan, Romano and Muenster.

According to Brown, Sen. Rob Portman and various published reports, the EU is considering using its free trade agreements to protect the names, prestige and market power of its native cheeses. That includes feta, even though "feta" is not a place, because, as the Associated Press says, the EU argues it "is so closely connected to Greece as to be identified as an inherently Greek product."

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