The European Court has rejected an attempt by the Cyprus Cattle Farmers’ Organisation to delay the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for halloumi (hellim) because of a dispute about how much cow’s milk the traditional cheese should contain.
Last summer, south Cyprus officially applied to register the names halloumi/hellim as a PDO. This application covers cheese producers across the island and aims to protect the name in Greek and Turkish.
A report by Greek Cypriot daily ‘Phileleftheros’, the farmers’ organisation says it disputes a stipulation that at least 50% of the milk used to produce halloumi come from sheep or goats. The organisation had filed a motion in court to prevent a relevant file being published in the EU’s official journal. The organisation produces and sells halloumi under the Papouis Dairies Ltd. label.
Following the court’s decision, Greek Cypriot Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said Cyprus’ efforts to get PDO status for halloumi are moving ahead and appeared to already have contributed to an increase in the country’s exports of the product. He added that once PDO status had been awarded, exports were expected to double further within the next ten years.
Some cheese makers have already been penalised, he said, for using too much cow’s milk in the product. Fines to deter this would be increased, the minister noted.