PARMA, Italy — Prosciutto di Parma will take full hold of its name in Canada thanks to a free trade agreement — Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) — between the European Union and Canada.
CETA introduces, among other initiatives, a series of rules for the protection of Geographical Indications, which have been given special status and greater protection in the Canadian market. Specifically, the agreement provides for the co-existence of the protected designation of origin “Prosciutto di Parma” and the Parma brand currently owned by the Canadian company Maple Leaf.
For the last 20 years, Prosciutto di Parma has been sold in Canada as “The Original Prosciutto/Le Jambon Original,” while a dry-cured Canadian ham has been sold under the brand Parma. Over this time the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma has taken different legal initiatives to have this brand invalidated.
Under the new agreement, the Consorzio’s producers will now be able to identify their product as Prosciutto di Parma, Parma Ham or Jambon de Parme. In addition, the distinctive Parma Crown — a guarantee of authenticity — will be featured on all packaging, setting it apart from others on the market.
“We were in a very awkward situation. Because we were unable to use our designation, the Consorzio couldn’t carry out promotional activities for our product in Canada,” says Stefano Fanti, director of the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma. “We feel this was detrimental to Canadian consumers, who could have been easily misled with regard to the quality and the origin of the prosciutto they were sold, incorrectly described as ‘Parma.’ Now, thanks to this agreement, we will be able to legitimately use our Prosciutto di Parma designation as well as our famous, brand-identifying Parma Crown and invest in our brand to develop our Canadian exports, which currently average 70,000 hams per year.”