French court rules on the appearance of striped cheese

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 23 Nov, 2022 Updated Wed 23 Nov 2022 13:13 CEST
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Blessed are the French cheesemakers as a court in Paris has ruled in their favour, following a decade of lobbying


The stripe in the middle of a wheel of French Morbier cheese now has legal protection following a ruling by the Cour d'Appel in Paris, which said that Article 13 of the European regulations also protects a particular characteristic of a product.

"The visual aspect of Morbier cheese, with its central and horizontal stripe, is sufficiently specific to be protected, in the same way as the name 'morbier'," the Court ruled.

The name of the cheese and its recipe have been protected since 2002 by the acronym PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), but the Syndicat interprofessionnel du morbier had been lobbying for a decade for a broadening of the protection, due to numerous counterfeits. 


The band in the cheese is not mould, as some may believe. It is a thin layer of ash that started being added in the late 18th century when harsh winters in the Jura meant milk deliveries could not always get through to makers of Comté cheeses.

As a result, Jura farmers started making their own cheeses. But, because they did not always have enough milk to make sufficient quantities, they protected it by adding a layer of charcoal on top so the milk would remain fresh until the next milking.

Today, two wheels are curdled separately before being joined together with the line of carbon.

"Tomorrow, there will only be one product with that dark line, that visual line, which is a particular characteristic of our morbier. It's unique, it's inimitable, it's really our story and it's our cheese," Joël Alpy, milk producer in the Jura and president of the Syndicat interprofessionnel du morbier told BFM TV.

The news is not only good for morbier producers as it sets a precedent for all other cheese producers.

"This is the first time that Article 13 of the European regulation has been used, which stipulates that the PDO protects the name but also a particular characteristic of a product that can mislead the consumer during the act of purchase," explains Joël Alpy.



The Local 2022/11/23 13:13

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