The ‘barmy Parma drama’ that brought Asda to the Court of Justice for slicing and packing Parma ham in the UK has led to a change in European law that gives producers of Protected Designation of Origin products the right to choose where a product is packed.

Italian ham trade consortium, Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma won its long-running battle against Asda to prevent Parma ham from being sold under the Parma ham brand name unless it is sliced and packed in its place of origin. Asda did pack Parma ham at Hygrade Foods, near Chippenham in Wiltshire, when the case was brought to court in 1997, but has since transferred activities to the Parma region. The Court of Justice backed Asda saying that Italian law was not in force in the UK in 1997.

But now the Court has made it clear that packing and slicing does form part of Protected Designation of Origin status awarded to products such as Parmesan cheese or Champagne. There are around 300 products that come under the PDO qualification confirmed an Asda spokesperson.