PROTECTING QUALITY European foods from foreign imitations by giving them a “geographic indication” is legitimate, according to a new World Trade Organisation ruling.

A case had been brought by the USA and Australia, which claimed the EU”s GI system amounted to a distortion of trade. But the WTO says protecting products such as Stilton cheese or Parma ham is compatible with international trade rules. There are currently around 700 GI products registered in the EU.