After seven years of languishing in EU bureaucracy , halloumi will hit the market on October 1st as a product of protected designation of origin (PDO).
Halloumi’s PDO status will mean that the squeaky cheese can only be produced in Cyprus.
Registering Cyprus’ traditional cheese is seen as a success as it provides authorities with another weapon in their fight against copycats looking to take a slice of halloumi’s market share.
An extension was also given to assure that producers on both sides of the green line can be certified to comply with the PDO conditions on the day of implementation and avoid availability gaps of halloumi/hellim in the market.
Meanwhile, Cyprus’ dairy producers are concerned they will not meet the strict description of the cheese in the PDO file. The file predicts that goat’s milk should by 2024 exceed cow’s milk, reaching a minimum of 51%, with a designated amount of mint, while the products can only be sold in the traditional folded block shape.
Secretary of the Cyprus Dairy Producers’ Association Andreas Andreou explained the PDO file says that goat’s milk used in the mix should be from local goat tribes, which should be fed with specific animal fodder.
Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said the decision protected halloumi against imitators.
“However, at present, 70% of the sheep and goat population in Cyprus are not native,” said Andreou. In recent years, sales and exports of halloumi exploded, with 2020 bringing in a whooping €266.5 million.
Studies show the market could bring in over €625 million in several years.
Halloumi is Cyprus's largest export with 40 per cent of that going to the UK.