Press and Information Division


14 February 2002

HEARING IN CASES C-469/00 and C-108/01

Ravil Sàrl contre Bellon Import Sàrl et Biraghi SpA and Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma, Salumificio S. Rita SpA and Asda Stores Ltd, Hygrade Foods Ltd

Case “Grana Padano” (469/00)

Ravil is a French company which imports, grates, packages and distributes, in France, various kinds of cheese and mostly the “Grana Padano” with the description “fresh grated grana padano”. In 1996, the Italian company Biraghi and the French company Bellon Import brought an action against Ravil before the French judge seeking a restraining order to stop it distributing the product with the abovementioned description as well as an order to pay damages.
They based their action on an Italian law which subjects the use of the designation of origin “grana padano” to the condition that the grating and packaging operations take place in the area of production.

The Cour de Cassation française asked the Court of justice whether a national provision that reserves the “Grana Padano” designation of origin for cheese grated in the region of production, is compatible with community law, in so far as such an obligation is not indispensable for preserving specific characteristics which the product has acquired.

Case “Prosciutto di Parma” (C-108/01)

The Consortium is an association of producers of “Prosciutto di Parma” which is based in Parma, Italy. Salumificio S. Rita SpA, based in Italy, is a member of the Consortium and produces “Prosciutto di Parma”.

Asda Stores Ltd operates a chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom. It sells in in its supermarkets pre-sliced ham described as being “Prosciutto di Parma”. The ham is purchased from Hygrade Foods Ltd, which is also based in the United Kingdom and which itself buys itfrom an Italian producer who is a member of the Consortium. The ham is imported into the United Kingdom boned but unsliced. It is sliced and hermetically sealed by Hygrade in packets of five slices each.

The packets bear the following words: “ASDA-A taste of Italy-PARMA HAM-Genuine Italian Parma Ham”. The back of the packets states, “ PARMA HAM-All authentic Asda continental meats are made by traditional methods to guarantee their authentic flavour and quality. Produced in Italy, packed in the UK for Asda Stores Limited”.

In 1997, the Consortium complained to the Trading Standards Authorities in the United Kingdom of breach of Community law concerning the protection of designations of origin and of geographical indications of agricultural products and foodstuffs.

Following legal proceedings before the British courts, the Consortium and Salumificio brought an appeal before the House of Lords. The House of Lords is asking the Court of Justice to rule on questions concerning the interpretation of Community law in this area.

The hearings will take place on Tuesday 19 February before the plenary session of the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

Please return to us the attached form in order to obtain an accreditation.

Unofficial document for media use only; not binding on the Court of Justice.

Available in English, French and Italian 

For further information please contact Fionnuala Connolly:
Tel: (00 352) 4303 3355; Fax: (00 352) 4303 2731


Please note the following;

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* the public is requested to remain quiet and seated throughout the hearing or ceremony;

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* the use of flash or supplementary lighting systems is not permitted;

* if numerous photographers and cameramen are interested, a .pool. may be arranged by the Press and Information Division;

* photographers and cameramen may not move around the hearing room in order to take photographs or to film;

* press are asked to use the Thomas More entrance, Boulevard Konrad Adenauer.



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