Trade talks between the EU and Mexico have been held to ransom by Spanish cheesemakers and their Mexican competitors, who remain locked in a long-running dispute over allegations of cheese plagiarism.
Cheesemakers in La Mancha, central Spain, accuse their Mexican counterparts of a “crude plagiarism” of their famous Manchego cheese.
The Spanish cheese, made from ewe’s milk, is an EU Protected Designation of Origin (AOC) product, but Mexican copy-cats are using the same name.
The Mexican version is made from cow’s milk within seven days, while the Spanish is made with Manchega ewe’s milk, ripened for a month or more.
But regardless of its alleged crudeness, the Mexican version represents nearly 15 per cent of cheese sales in the Latin American company and the producers are unwilling to give up the “generic” name.
The long-standing dispute has now become a sticking point in EU-Mexico trade talks, The Local reports.
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