Asda has lost its long-running battle to sell Parma ham under the Parma brand, when the meat is sliced and packaged in the Britain.

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Parma ham can only be sliced in the region where they are produced.

The verdict came at the end of a six-year legal dispute, in which Italian trade organisation Prosciutto Association of Parma sought injunctions against Asda to stop the supermarket slicing and packaging the hams in-house and selling the result as Parma ham.

However, Asda can still use the Parma name when the meat is sliced on a delicatessen counter in front of shoppers.

Since the case began in 1997 Asda, which said it would continue to press the argument that the packaging restriction would prevent cost-efficiencies, has moved its Parma ham packaging operations back to Italy from the UK.

In a linked dispute the EJC also ruled that Grana Padano parmesan cheese only qualifies as such if grated in the region where it is produces.