Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Copyright infringment on hummus?

It appears that if the Lebanese get their way hummus will be legally a Lebanese national dish. This article in Britain's Telegraph newspaper details the legal appeal by an association of Lebanese industrialists to the European Union to afford hummus a protected status. They claim that hummus is of Lebanese origin and that Israeli companies have unfairly profited by selling the dish to the world claiming it to be a typical Israeli dish.

I know that Jaffa oranges have certain intellectual property rights as well as mangoes from certain regions and whole host of other foods. But hummus??!! Chickpeas/garbanzo beans have grown in a variety of countries for hundreds if not thousands of years. I don't think it belongs to any region or national cuisine. The variety of kinds of hummus is one of the things I like about it so much. Even within in Israel you have different flavors depending on the region. I find it difficult to believe this Lebanese group could prove that hummus is in fact native to Lebanon as well as satisfy the myriad of other legal hurdles required to obtain the special status on their hummus. We'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I'm pretty sure I know what I'll be having for lunch.



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