What's in a name?
The EU has already come down hard on milk and butter applying to anything other than dairy products. But milk extended its meaning to cover similar whitish liquid coming from a plant as far back as the 1300s. The first example sentence for milk of almonds is dated 1420.
Has there been an outcry from consumers who have carted home soya milk in the expectation that it is cow’s milk flavoured with soy, or peanut butter in the expectation that it is a dairy food flavoured with peanuts?
I don’t think so. There is politics in all this renaming but politics of a particularly time-wasting variety.
There is politics also in the looming battle between the EU and Australia on our right to produce feta, haloumi, parmesan and prosecco in this country and export it to Europe labelled as such. The argument is that, like champagne, these products are associated with a particular region in Europe and the name should mean that the product comes from that region.
It seems that brie, camembert and gorganzola are ok for us to use, but gruyere and roquefort are not. The suggestion is that, just as camembert de Normandie is a protected name, so Australian feta might distinguish our feta from European feta. Some of the problems could be solved by just adding ‘Australian’. Would that it were so simple.
I have yet to see Brussels rising to claim the Brussels sprout. It is the products that are yummy or expensive that get people excited about who owns the name. While I think that the Brussels sprout is a delicacy, I know there are not many sophisticates like me out there. And there are none in my family.
No, the Brussels sprout can be grown anywhere, but prosecco, that’s a different story.