Kiwi cheese makers are claiming the European Union is overstepping the mark in its attempt to make certain types of cheese geographically restricted.

Danish cheese makers, with the support of their government, registered the name Danbo as geographically protected.

NZ Dairy Companies Association executive director Kimberly Crewther said the European Union was looking to extend that to more cheese varieties in more areas of the world.

She said the EU was effectively creating trade barriers to monopolise on value in traded markets.


"The registration of Danbo demonstrates that the EU is now clawing back and protecting cheese names that are clearly in common use globally," Crewther said.

"While New Zealand is not a large producer of Danbo, we are significant producers of many other common cheese varieties which have European origins for their name, like parmesan and mozzarella" she said.

Italian cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (Mozzarella) are already protected by EU regulation, however that does not extend past Europe.

Strict geographical limitations are in effect for some cheese varieties including Stilton which can only be produced in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. The French cheese Roquefort likewise can only be produced in the Roquefort-sur-Soulzon region.

The most famous example of a protected consumer good is Champagne, which can only bear the name if produced in the Champagne region of France. New Zealand wine makers use the title "Méthode Traditionnelle" meaning it is made in the traditional method Champagne is.

This year, New Zealand winemakers earned the right to protection on wine produced in different regions.

New Zealand Winegrowers acting chief executive Jeffrey Clarke said the introduction of this was a significant advance for the local wine industry.

"Our geographical indications, the names and places where our wines come from, are at the very heart of the New Zealand wine story and this new law provides an additional level of protection for them," Clarke said.

"Importantly, registration will also give the region's winegrowers a greater ability to protect those GI names from misuse overseas," he said.

Peregrine managing director and co-founder Lindsay Mclachlan told the Herald in July that the new measure was "terrific".

"We're seeing a lot more interest in New Zealand's regions and this lends us more legitimacy," he said at the time.

"It's a great thing for a winery like Peregrine, which is strengthened by its connection to Central Otago.

"We're pleased to see it."