By Andria Kades
Designating halloumi as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product will benefit everyone on the island, Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said on Friday.
A PDO is designed to protect the names of regional foods and to ensure that only products originating in that region can be traded.
The product will be called halloumi / hellim and will be produced by both Greek and Turkish Cypriots in order to protect the country from foreign imitators. “We are securing a market that benefits everyone,” Kouyialis told Cyprus News Agency (CNA).
An announcement from the EU is expected shortly as the application is currently being translated to all European languages.
Regarding food safety controls, the minister said it is likely an independent organisation with an international presence will be hired that will conduct all tests throughout the island and ensure equal treatment for all producers.
He specified that France and Italy followed the same method and have 75 per cent of all PDO’s. “Whatever rules apply for France, Italy, Germany and all other EU countries that have PDO or PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) will apply for Cyprus. EU regulations cannot be implemented differently in Cyprus.”
Cyprus filed an application to the European Commission to grant halloumi a certificate of PDO in July. The Turkish Cypriots complained last year that they were not consulted on the process, filing five cases at the Supreme Court fearing that their producers would be disadvantaged.
Meanwhile the PDO application was also delayed as Greek Cypriot producers protested against a ministerial decision that halloumi should contain 51 per cent goat’s milk, citing it as unrealistic. Pressure on authorities mounted after a Briton of Cypriot descent received money from the EU to produce halloumi cheese in the UK.