Italian cheese may only be labelled “Parmesan” if it comes from Parmigiano Reggiano, (the region of Parma), and even if it is intended only for export, an advocate general of the European Court of Justice has ruled.

In a preliminary judgement, he also rejected arguments that the word “Parmesan” was a translation and therefore exempt from the Protected Designation of Origin regulations.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent