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Consorzio del Proscuitto di Parma v. Asda Stores, Ltd.

[2003] ECR I-5121 (2003)

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Consorzio del Proscuitto di Parma v. Asda Stores, Ltd.

European Court of Justice

[2003] ECR I-5121 (2003)

Facts

Italy passed a law establishing a protected designation of origin (PDO) for Prosciutto di Parma. Under this law, the designation of Parma ham, or Prosciutto di Parma, was reserved exclusively for ham obtained from fresh legs of pigs raised and slaughtered in mainland Italy, distinctly marked, and sliced and packaged in the typical production area. Other elements of production were subject to the approval of the Consorzio (plaintiff), an association of producers of Parma ham. Asda Stores, Ltd. (defendant) operated a chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom and purchased Parma Ham from Hygrade Foods Ltd. (defendant), an importer. Hygrade sliced and packaged the ham outside of Italy and labeled the product as Parma Ham. Consorzio sued Hygrade and Asde in the United Kingdom. The lawsuit was initially dismissed, and Consorzio eventually appealed to the House of Lords. The House of Lords then stayed the proceedings and referred the primary legal question to the European Court of Justice. The European Court of Justice considered whether Italy could, under European law, impose these labeling restrictions that prohibited slicing and packaging outside of Italy.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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