"The European Commission proposal to register the denomination 'Gruyère' as a protected geographical indicator has been approved" by a committee of EU
experts, EU farming commission spokesman Roger Waite said on Friday.
The requirement is that French Gruyère cheese must contain holes "between the size of a pea and a cherry," and the French origin must be visible on
packaging, Waite said.
To-date, only Swiss Gruyère benefited from this degree of protection under a bilateral accord between the EU and non-member Switzerland.
Australian and New Zealand producers, as well as the American milk industry, had lodged objections to the recognition of French Gruyere as a distinct product.
Although the stereotype of Swiss cheese is of varieties with holes, this applies only to certain kinds, such as Emmental, but not to Gruyère.