NAPLES, ITALY – The Pizza Company, Thailand’s largest pizza chain, may soon lose its right to use the word “pizza” if the World Pizza Council has its way.
The Naples-based Council, whose charter is to “protect the traditions and purity of Italy’s most famous and beloved culinary export”, filed suit in European Union court this week to demand that The Pizza Company “cease and desist using the word ‘pizza’ to describe its products.”
The Council also issued a press release outlining its position in detail, expressing regret that legal action was necessary, but defending the suit as a “crucial defense of the integrity of pizza,” citing numerous violations of pizza tradition that had been committed by The Pizza Company.
“We cannot stand idly by while the so-called Pizza Company continues to create these deformed culinary abuses and call them pizza,” said Mario Lugano, a spokesperson for the Council. “We have been patient with the Company for over a decade, politely asking them to use another word as early as 1997, when they were Pizza Hut Thailand, and they introduced the seafood pizza with imitation crab stick and Thousand Island dipping sauce.”
According to Lugano, the Pizza Company’s violations against pizza integrity grew more and more unbearable during the 2000s, with the creation of a cheese-filled crust, a hot-dog-ring crust, the sausage-cheese-bacon crust, and the gouda-glazed sausage-bite crust. The final straw was the introduction of the prawn-topped cheese-pool crust.
“You cannot look upon such a monstrosity and even think it resembles pizza,” Lugano said. “To do so is to spit in the faces of my Neapolitan ancestors.”
Under the terms of the suit, the Pizza Company must stop using the word “pizza” in its name, on its products, in its marketing materials, and as a keyword in its web pages.
The suit has also suggested alternative names the Company might use, including “Thai Pie,” “Tropical Wedges,” and “Circle Of Krup.”
The company has 60 days to respond before an injunction will be filed.
The Pizza Company, a subsidiary of Yum Brands, did not respond to requests for comment. However, one of its managers at the Silom branch of the restaurant said that the suit was unfairly targeting Thais.
“Why haven’t they sued the California Pizza Kitchen for its hoisin-sauce Chinese duck pizza?” asked Thongpat Chirachai. “I don’t think Chinese duck is very Italian. But they are afraid to offend the Americans so they come after us. It isn’t fair.”
Responding to Thongpat’s comments, Lugano was unequivocal: “The Council encourages experimentation with pizza and has taken a pro-fusion stance.”
“But this,” he said, indicating a Pizza Company flyer advertising the new X-Pan Pizza topped with squid, prawns, mussels, crab stick and no apparent cheese or tomato sauce, “this is a crime against humanity.”