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Geographical Indications

What are they?

Geographical Indications (GIs) are a type of trademark that only allow products to use certain names if they are produced in a specific region.

In the same way you can only call sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of France “Champagne”, the European Union (EU) wants to restrict the use of cheese names here in Australia.

How will this impact you?

The EU is negotiating to impose a GIs regime on Australia. If the EU succeeds, the use of common cheese names produced in Australia such as Feta and Parmesan will be restricted.

The EU’s rules could also restrict the use of packaging and labelling that could evoke a protected EU GI, including flags, colours or images that highlight a products European heritage.

This means it will be harder to recognise the Australian brands of many cheese varieties.

Would you be confident purchasing Parmesan if it wasn’t called Parmesan? Or Feta if it wasn’t called Feta? Would you trust that the Australian cheese you’re purchasing (now labelled differently) will be what’s required for that recipe?

How could this impact Australia’s dairy industry?

Australia has a proud multicultural history filled with Europeans building successful cheese businesses that supply Aussies with great tasting cheese.

The EU's trade restrictive GIs regime would impact many local cheese brands – and at an estimated cost of $70-90 million per annum in the early years of the GIs regime's implementation.

Aussie farmers and regional communities, where many dairy product manufacturing facilities are located, could also be impacted. Estimates suggest up to 1,000 people could lose their jobs

Hear from Aussie cheese masters

Hear from the Australian dairy industry's greatest cheese connoisseurs and makers on what they think about the GIs regime in the following case studies.

Industry support

The Australian dairy industry's organisations are coming together to support Aussie dairy producers.

Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Products Federation, and state farming organisations seek to ensure the ongoing use of common cheese names that are part of the public domain.

These organisations are engaging with the Australian Government and the broader dairy industry to increase awareness of the risks involved in the GIs regime.

It's so you can continue buying the cheeses you know, and the industry's workers can continue doing what they do best – make delicious Australian cheese.