Mexico gets to keep its manchego cheese

The Mexican cheese keeps its name but national products have to clearly indicate they have no relation to the Spanish manchego, which has a protected denomination of origin

Mexico gets to keep its manchego cheese
Cheese wheels – Photo: AFP
English 29/04/2018 10:57 Mexico City Notimex Actualizada 10:59

Mexican cheesemakers will still be able to keep selling their manchego cheese under that name after the modernization of the Trade Agreement between Mexico and the European Union, according to Phil Hogan, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The preservation of the denomination of origin – demanded by Spanish cheesemakers to remain exclusive of their product – was one of the main disputes that held down an agreement in this two-year negotiation, which concluded last week.

Despite having the same name, Mexican manchego and Spanish manchego are vastly different.

Spanish manchego is a regional sheep's cheese, produced only in the Spanish region of La Mancha, according to a very specific procedure. For its part, Mexican manchego is a softer cow's cheese, made following a different set of techniques.

And although Mexico got to keep the name, Mexican cheesemakers shall specify on their labels that their product is domestic, and made from cow's milk. In addition that under no circumstance shall Mexican cheesemakers use any kind of symbol or flag that could lead consumers to think they are purchasing the Spanish product.

The European Union secured exclusive rights for other products with a protected designation of origin, such as Comté Cheese (France) and Sao Jorge cheese (Portugal).

The trade agreement between Mexico and the EU still needs to be ratified following the approval of the parliaments of the European countries and thus, it is expected to enter into effect at the end of the year.


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