Cheese Wars: French Fromagers Take on Brussels Over EU Recycling Law

Cheese Wars: French Fromagers Take on Brussels Over EU Recycling Law

Cheese Wars: French Fromagers Take on Brussels Over EU Recycling Law. Image: Alexander Prokopenko /

In a clash of tradition versus environmental consciousness, French cheesemakers are leading a charge against a proposed EU recycling law that they argue jeopardises one of France’s culinary gems.

The contentious draft law aims to eliminate single-use packaging in favour of recycled materials, a move that has ignited concerns among cheese producers, particularly those using iconic packaging like Camembert’s distinctive wooden box.

The French media has eagerly embraced the cheesemongers’ cause, accusing the EU of endangering France’s “gastronomic treasures.”

Adding her voice to the outcry, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Laurence Boone cautioned Brussels about the potential for a public relations catastrophe mere months before the European elections.

“If we want to caricature Europe before the elections, let’s bother Camembert producers and their wooden packaging,” Boone remarked, emphasising the public’s emotional connection to culinary traditions.

In response to the mounting criticism, a European Commission spokesperson reassured that the law doesn’t outright ban wooden packaging but may necessitate improvements in recycling or reusing these materials.

This statement, however, hasn’t assuaged the fears of cheese producers, who argue that implementing a recycling system for wood would be prohibitively expensive.

This battle over cheese packaging echoes past PR challenges for Brussels, harkening back to the notorious “bendy banana” saga that haunted the EU in the lead-up to the Brexit referendum.

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Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.