The Cyprus government has filed an application to the European Commission to secure a certificate of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for the traditional goat’s cheese halloumi, paving the way for the commercial protection of the brand.
Agriculture Minsiter Nikos Kouyialis said that the Commission will need 14 months to review and grant its final approval.
He said that according to the application, halloumi will have to be made of at least 50% goat or sheep milk or a mixture of both, with or without cow’s milk.
In a bid to overcome the difficulties facing dairy producers and to allow time for compliance with the new standards, Kouyialis said he approved a ten-year transitional period allowing for the use of 20% of goat and sheep milk until its gradual increase to 50%. He also said he abolished the previous decree that established a ratio of goat and sheep milk of 23% for the period of July-November and 25% for the period of December-June, due mainly to the shortage of milk.
The Minister said that until the Commission’s final reply, the name ‘halloumi’ or the Arabic and Turkish ‘hellim’ will be protected as no other country can trade cheese under this or any similar name while no other EU member-state can submit a competitive application for the use of halloumi as a trademark.
“I believe that the agriculture and farming sectors will reach new dimensions and I am certain that all producers will benefit and no one stands to lose,” he added.
Kouyialis said his Ministry has drafted measures to facilitate farmers to adapt to the new terms, as these emerge from the establishment of halloumi as PDO.
The Ministry plans to launch a programme for the creation of new and the modernisation of older farm units, which will provide funding of 40% and up to 60%, respectively, which may reach up to €800,000.
Halloumi has been registered as a Cypriot protected product in the US since the 1990s and challenged in a Danish court, when a dairy wanted to produce halloumi cheese based primarily on cow’s milk.
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