A Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice (ECJ) has banned producers of cheap competing Parmesan-style cheeses from using the Parmigiano Reggiano trademark.

The ruling, which applies to makers throughout Europe and in the traditional region of the hard gourmet cheese, has been welcomed by the authentic Italian producers.

In a statement released earlier today [Tuesday], the ECJ said: "For reasons of consumer protection and competition, "imitation" Parmesan manufactured in Italy is not eligible for protection under the transitional procedure for designation of origin."