Halloumi cheese is the latest cheese to receive special European Union protection.
From now on, traditional makers in Cyprus will be able to market their age-old recipe with a protection designation of origin (PDO) stamp to signal authenticity.
The ruling also gives Cyprus added legal rights to stop other cheesemakers from selling traditional-recipe halloumi in the EU and United Kingdom and Australia.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council said it was ready to fight over the halloumi name if the EU demanded halloumi monopoly in future trade deals.
“Claiming there is a special knowledge that only producers in Cyprus possess is absurd and will lead to an unfair and anti-competitive outcome,” ADIC chair Terry Richardson said.
National Farmers’ Federation chief executive Tony Mahar said the EU’s geographic indications “regime” is “a Trojan horse for European protectionism”.
The PDO status also means Cypriot cheesemakers who wish to use the EU stamp will be held to a high-quality standard.
On the whole, the Mediterranean island locals have hailed the decision.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades welcomed the move, calling it “a milestone day for halloumi/hellim and our country”.
Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said the decision protected halloumi cheese against imitators.
Halloumi cheese is Cyprus’s largest export, earning AUD$385 million last year — 40 per cent of that going to the UK.
Cyprus has a history of taking legal action against companies making alternative halloumi and failing to win the cases, including Sweden’s Grilloumi, a Greek halloumi/version grill cheese and a Bulgarian BBQloumi.
The global halloumi cheese market was valued at $421.2 million in 2019, and is projected to reach $737.0 million by 2027, registering a CAGR of 10.0% from 2021 to 2027.
Halloumi cheese is semi-hard cheese with its color varying from white to depending on the ingredients and production process. The cheese can be consumed raw, but is often grilled, fried, or grated over a hot dish. Traditionally, the halloumi cheese was a type of cheese produced in the Cypriot region between the Middle East and Europe called Cyprus.
Halloumi cheese is traditionally made from ovine milk. The production method and the end product are often different throughout Cyprus creating confusion as to what is the correct way of producing halloumi cheese.
Source: Dairy News Australia.