THE Asda supermarket chain lost its legal battle yesterday to carry on selling Italian Parma ham - because it is packed and sliced in Britain.

European judges ruled that the meat must be packed and sliced in Parma to be marketed with its name of origin.

Asda's Parma ham comes from Parma, but it is sliced and packaged near Chippenham, Wiltshire. Its up-market "delicatessen" Parma ham also comes from Parma - but is sliced in its stores, in front of the customer.

But that is not enough under EU law to justify using the name, said the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

It said: "Maintaining the quality and reputation of Parma ham justifies the rule that the product must be sliced and packaged in the region of production."