American Cheese Producers and Dairy Farmers Get Court Win

The U.S. District Court in eastern Virginia issued ruling that “gruyere” is a generic style of cheese that can come from anywhere. The decision says all cheesemakers, not just those in France and Switzerland, can continue to create and market cheese under that common name. The Consortium for Common Food Names, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Milk Producers Federation, and a coalition of dairy stakeholders prevailed in their battle to use the generic name. “This is a landmark victory for American dairy farmers and cheesemakers, and it sets a vital precedent in the much larger, ongoing battle over food names in the United States,” says Jaime Castaneda, Executive Director of the CCFN. The court says in its ruling that the arguments of the French and Swiss were insufficient, and that CCFN presented overwhelming evidence that cheese buyers in the U.S. understand gruyere to be a generic term with no correlation to where it’s produced.

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