Austria, Slovenia settle sausage spat

2012-06-15 22:10


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Vienna - Austria said on Friday that it has reached a compromise with Slovenia over a spat that had threatened to force Vienna's sausage stands to change the name of one of their most popular offerings.

Slovenia wants EU protected status for its "Kranjska klobasa", or Krainer sausage, banning the name for sausages not made in its Kranjska region, known as Krain in German and formerly part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

This had however worried consumers in Austria, whose ubiquitous sausage stands sell a popular variation invented in the 1980s containing bits of cheese and known locally as the "Kaesekrainer" ("Cheese Krainer") or "Krainer" for short.

After "intensive bilateral discussions", Austria's food ministry said on Friday, Slovenia will still seek EU protection for the Kranjska klobasa but Austrians can continue to sell Kaesekrainers without falling foul of Brussels.

"It was important to us that the Kaesekrainer is an Austrian invention with a long tradition," Agriculture Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich said in a statement. "This compromise satisfies everybody."

The prospect of Austrians having to change the name of such a popular snack had created considerable media coverage, with state ministries, gastronomy experts and the patent commission all queuing up to challenge Slovenia's move.

Josef Bitzinger from the Vienna chamber of commerce had thundered in April that that the "beloved speciality" was a "cultural asset", and that changing the name would result in "enormous revenue losses."

With Slovenia and Austria in the mood for compromise, the two countries also buried the hatchet in another culinary conflict, that of the southern Austrian region of Styria's famed pumpkin seed oil.

"Slovenian pumpkin seed oil can only be sold as 'stajersko' and not with the German translation of 'steirisches', and the country of origin must be clearly visible," the Austrian food ministry said.

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