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Europeans want meat names to themselves; US lawmakers say baloney

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 08 2014 04:26:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 08 2014 04:28:49 PM CDT

First it was cheese. Now the European Union and the United States are beefing over meat names.

First it was cheese. Now the European Union and the United States are beefing over meat names.

Trade talks that are happening right now could change the names of some common items.

For nearly 40 years, Karl Ehmer Quality Meats in Allentown has specialized in European foods.

"Mostly German, Austrian, some Hungarian, a little bit of Italian," explained owner Leo Osanitsch.

With about 60 different cold cuts, sausages and hams, workers said they have the best of the wurst.

"This is the worst of the wurst," Osanitsch laughed.

He's talking about the European Union wanting to rename the meats in his case. The E.U. wants to limit what we call certain meats that are linked to specific regions across the pond. That means, for example, any bologna, black forest ham or brat not made in its motherland would need some other name.

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"Bratwurst, if you translate it, is frying sausage," added Osanitsch. "So we'd have to call it frying sausage, I guess. I don't know."

Lawmakers said the changes could hurt a growing industry that contributes $12 billion to Pennsylvania's economy. They’re specifically concerned about smaller businesses, like Karl Ehmer Quality Meats, that specialize in meat products. Osanitsch isn't so sure.

"People come to us because it's a specialty shop, and they know when they come here and they want German ham or they want Hungarian sausage that's what they're going to get," he described. "Whether it's imported or it's made here, the idea is the same."

U.S. Senator Bob Casey and dozens of other lawmakers have signed a letter speaking out against what the European Union is trying to do.