A major Swiss cheese label organisation and a leading dairy producer are at odds over a sales offensive on the United States market.
Le Gruyère AOC, representing more than 170 producers of the famous cheese, criticised the Emmi dairies of damaging the special origin label.
The director of Gruyere AOC, Philippe Bardet, told the Swiss News Agency that Emmi dairies acted unethically, but within the law as there is no Protected Designation of Origin label in the US.
He vowed to seek global recognition for the label which is presently only applied within the European Union.
Emmi’s overseas subsidiary, Emmi Roth, dismissed the allegations, saying its Grand Cru Gruyère cheese was not comparable as it is made of pasturised milk while the Gruyère AOC variety consists of raw milk.
An Emmi spokeswoman pointed out their product was not competing on the retail market but specifically targeting restaurants.
On the US market since 2009, Emmi is planning to expand its production in the state of Wisconsin, according to the news agency.
The US is the most important export market for Gruyère cheese, where more than 3,000 tons were sold in 2010.
swissinfo.ch and agencies