A proposal at the world’s food standards body the Codex Alimentarius to create a comprehensive global regime on rules of origin has been postponed, after a clash between European countries wanting tough rules and others preferring a more laissez faire approach.

Arguments at the Geneva meeting particularly focused on Parmesan cheese, which the European Union (EU) insists must be made in a restricted area of Italy, but which for many other countries has become a generic term and so should not be protected. Argentine delegates pointed out that the Mercosur bloc in South America even has a standard for locally made Parmesan.

There was agreement however on expanding Codex rules to most dairy products, beyond their current narrow scope that focuses on powdered milk. General food hygiene regulations were also expanded and there was agreement over an international code of practice on ‘good animal feeding’, advising on how to “minimise risks to the health of consumers.”