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The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, an organization in Italy that is nearly 100 years old and designed to protect the specifications and history of the cheese, announced that Campbell Soup will remove images from certain labels of Prego jars that reference a certified Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The organization told Store Brands that it maintains a suite of certification marks protected by U.S. law that help legitimize and authenticate a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that was produced and aged in Northern Italy. One of those marks is a pin dot that appears on the rinds of a certified cheese. The consortium said some jars of Prego sauce featured an authenticated cheese with a pin-dot marking, although the product didn’t receive certification or use authenticated cheese in the product. The consortium said it takes unauthorized marks seriously and pursues legal action in the U.S. in cases of infringement and said that Campbell’s agreed to remove the image and reference on its packaging. There are brands in the United States that carry a certification on its labels from the consortium such as a pesto sauce from Barilla, a store brand organic pesto Genovese sauce at H-E-B’s Central Market and private label products in Sainsbury stores in the U.K. Whole Foods also recently entered into an agreement with the consortium to increase the presence of certified Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in about 500 stores across the United States, Canada and in the United Kingdom. The agreement increases the distribution of the certified product in the U.S., making it second behind France as the largest import of the cheese. “This success reinforces our confidence in the battle we have been waging for decades – previously in Europe and now in the rest of the world – to demonstrate that the term ‘parmesan’ is not generic but that identifies a very specific product that is Parmigiano Reggiano PDO,” said Nicola Bernelli, president of the consortium. “When a multinational corporation like Campbell uses images of Parmigiano-Reggiano on a product containing parmesan, this signifies to consumers that the name ‘parmesan’ is not a generic umbrella term, but linked to Parmigiano-Reggiano.”

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