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Cyprus 08.01.2024

Halloumi's PDO Status at Risk as EU Courts Prepare to Rule

Source: The DairyNews
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The fate of Cyprus' renowned export, halloumi, hangs in the balance as the European Union (EU) courts are set to rule on February 21 in a lawsuit challenging its status as a Product of Designated Origin (PDO). The lawsuit, filed by cow breeders and cheesemakers, revolves around the ongoing dispute over the cow-to-sheep milk ratio in halloumi's recipe.
Halloumi's PDO Status at Risk as EU Courts Prepare to Rule
Dairy producers on the island express frustration with the government's decision to double the goat's and sheep's milk quota in halloumi from 10% to 25%, as agreed upon in 2022. Cheesemakers had previously threatened to close their factories due to disagreements over the ingredients defining PDO halloumi.

In response to the October decree increasing the mandatory quota of sheep's and goat's milk in halloumi, cheesemakers had threatened a strike. The government proposed extending the validity of the decree until February 21, pending the EU court ruling.

Cheesemakers argue that increasing the goat and sheep milk ratio would endanger exports, while also asserting that the government's push to stop producing halloumi exclusively from sheep's and goat's milk is not feasible due to the lack of surplus milk.

The ongoing disagreement between the government, cheesemakers, and cow breeders over the milk ratio poses a threat to halloumi's PDO status. If the EU court rules in favor of cow breeders, halloumi could lose its PDO status, making it susceptible to imitation worldwide.

A ceasefire deal brokered in July 2022 aimed to address the contentious issue of the milk ratio, with the agriculture ministry agreeing to defer the enforcement of the PDO ratio until 2024. However, the cheesemakers' representative argues that the government has not upheld its side of the deal.

Halloumi, often referred to as the island's 'white gold,' has been a significant contributor to Cyprus' exports, generating substantial revenue. The ongoing dispute adds uncertainty to the future of this iconic Cypriot product.
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