Our favourite cheese could soon be missing from our salads, forever!

Some Australian food and drink products would need to be re-named under strict changes proposed by the European Union under a proposed free trade deal.

The EU argues that the names are linked to a particular region in Europe and that the names shouldn’t be used by “outside producers”.

But Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has vowed to drive a “very hard bargain” with the EU, which is pursuing the product name issue in its negotiations with the federal government.

“Australians can be confident that we will drive a very hard bargain – as we always do – to achieve an overall agreement that delivers more opportunity for Australian farmers and businesses,” he said.

The EU wants protections for food and drink brands in its region, and if it’s successful Australian feta-makers could be forced to refer to their cheese as “Australian feta”.

Packaging may also need to be changed for some Australian products, such as mozzarella cheese so it doesn’t look too similar to European brands.

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The EU is Australia’s second-largest trading partner, third-largest export destination and second-largest services export market.

With AAP

KIIS 1065 Sydney