EU Commission tells the world Greek yoghurt is ‘Greek’

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The use of the term ‘Greek yoghurt’ for products made outside Greece deceives consumers and creates unfair competition, the European Commission said, ending an ongoing dispute between Athens and Prague.

Greek Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Evangelos Apostolou recently sent a letter to the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, as well as EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, expressing his disagreement with a Czech Republic’s draft decree laying down requirements for milk and dairy products, ice creams and edible fats and oils to the Commission.

For Athens, both the name 'Greek' yoghurt and 'Greek-style' yoghurt is contrary to the EU Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers, which documents that consumers should not be misled.

The Commissioner has stressed that food information should not be misleading, as to the characteristics of the food and, in particular, as to its identity and country of origin or place of provenance.

“In particular, using the term ‘Greek yoghurt’ for products produced outside Greece would deceive consumers and would create unfair competition in the EU market,” the EU official noted.

Andriukaitis also said designating yoghurt not originated from Greece as 'Greek yoghurt' and revealing the true place of manufacture on the label (e.g. produced in X country other than Greece) was not sufficient to avoid or compensate the misleading character of the designation 'Greek yoghurt' as to its identity and country of origin.

The Greek Minister expressed his satisfaction with the Commission’s response, “Our arguments were accepted from both Commissioners. From now on we will be insisting in order to protect Greek yoghurt and we are determined to address the relevant courts if needed," he said.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.