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Book Sections Year : 2019

PDO Comté Cheese in France


Comté cheese is made of raw, cooked and pressed cow milk, in Eastern France. It originated in the Middle Ages but its national success in terms of increase in sales and price premium dates from the 1990s. The PDO has a strong governance under the Comité Interprofessionnel de Gestion du Comté (CIGC). CIGC groups value chain stakeholders into four colleges and agreement by all colleges is required for all decisions. CIGC controls the supply chain using the mechanism of a green label distributed to producers. The technical specifications of Comté emphasize the role of pasture, specifying that cows graze in spring as soon as temperatures allow it. They limit the amount of concentrate and specify that all feed comes from the PDO area, except under exceptional circumstances such as severe drought. Environmental protection measures such as limits on nitrogen fertilization, minimum biodiversity of grass seeds, maximum livestock density and maximum milk productivity per cow and per hectare are also in place. Comté is either similar or better performing than its non-PDO reference product (industrial Emmental cheese) and the average French dairy /cheese sector on most economic, environmental and social indicators. The only exception is export, as a much higher volume of Emmental is exported than Comté. Comté substantially outperforms its reference products in price premium, operating margin, food miles, employment, bargaining power and generation renewal.
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hal-02401239 , version 1 (09-12-2019)



Elisa Husson, Lisa Delesse, Amaury Paget, Rémi Courbou, Valentin Bellassen, et al.. PDO Comté Cheese in France. Sustainability of European Food Quality Schemes, Chapter 21, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, pp.405-426, 2019, 978-3-030-27507-5. ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-27508-2_21⟩. ⟨hal-02401239⟩
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