NAPLES, Fla - The European Union has picked a food fight with a Naples man.
The owner of Johnsonville Sausage Company, Ralph Stayer, says he was surprised to learn that the European Union (EU) is pushing to trademark several different foods, including the bratwurst.
Stayer says, "As we understand it, because the bratwurst was born in Germany, any American-made brat would have to be referred to as a 'bratwurst-like sausage' under these proposed restrictions."
Stayer, who is known as the "Sausage King," notes his hometown of Sheboygan, Wis., has long been known as the "Bratwurst Capital of the World." In fact, this title was legally given to the area by Sheboygan County Judge John Bolgert back in 1970.
Stayer's parents started their butcher shop in Johnsonville, Wisconsin in 1945. Since then, the family has been responsible for producing more bratwurst than any other American brand. The company's sausage is sold in more than 40 other countries.
"We believe that no brat, regardless of its nationality, should be used to divide us," said Stayer. "Brats, by their very nature, bring people together – in backyard cookouts and many special occasions."
Stayer commends legislators who have publicly shared their support for Americans' right to continue producing, selling and enjoying products, regardless of where they may have originated.