French producers of "Gruyere" cheese have won recognition for their produce under an all-important regional trading name system -- but it will have to have holes, unlike Swiss Gruyere, the European Commission said Friday.
"The European Commission proposal to register the denomination 'Gruyere' as a protected geographical indicator has been approved" by a committee of EU experts, EU farming commission spokesman Roger Waite said.
The requirement is that French Gruyere 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 Gruyere 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.