Food Protectionism in Europe
The Wall Street Journal reports on the strange predicament of an English village named Stilton:
The bar on producing Stilton cheese here is a curious consequence of EU efforts to protect revered local foods by limiting the geographical area where they can be made.
Here is the ponderous statute. It looks like the people of Stilton, the village, could make Stilton, the cheese — but they couldn’t market it as such, so it wouldn’t do them any good. The law also forbids them to label their cheese “Imitation Stilton” or “Stilton Style,” proof that the regulations enforce a monopoly for producers without helping consumers at all. Were the goal to protect consumers from misleading advertising or inferior products, it would be fine to label products as imitations and let consumers choose between them and the “real thing.”
As more Americans become interested in where their food comes from and in giving preference to products from certain areas, I hope the United States doesn’t model any legislation on Europe’s detrimental policy.