There’s an article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today about the town of Parma, Italy, home of not only Parma ham but Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as well (also known as Parmesan cheese). The ham consortium of Parma is involved in a dispute with Asda, a British supermarket chain, over the use of appellations of origin, indicators of geogrpahic source (such as “apples of Oregon”). The Parma merchants argue that hams raised and cured in Parma, but sliced and packaged in Britain, cannot be referred to properly as Parma Hams. The Brits have won the latest round before the European Court of Justice, decision on its website. Click on caselaw, then use ‘ASDA’ as a search term on the ECJ website. When Appellations of origin are big business. Ask the lawyers for scotch whiskey or champagne sparkling wine. Parma Ham commands $20 a pound in the U.S. – that’s more than any nationally advertised branded ham. Next time you’re in a good restaurant, look at the menu. Chances are you will see several appellations of origin, and no brands.