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Halloumi PDO being ‘sabotaged from the inside’, minister says

File photo: Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis sampling halloumi

A lot of Cypriots with vested interests are sabotaging the country’s bid to register halloumi cheese as a protected designation of origin (PDO), Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said on Tuesday, without however, naming names.

The minister acknowledged that Cyprus’ application to register its renowned cheese was facing problems but he expressed optimism that it would succeed before the end of the year.

Asked whether the problem related to the quantity of sheep milk, the minister said these were “fairy tales from certain manufacturers.”

He added that halloumi was being registered to the benefit of thousands of Cypriot farmers and not just three or four large manufacturers.

“My job is to secure the interests of the Cypriot people and not those of four or five people,” Kouyialis said. “Many Cypriots are sabotaging (the application), some secretly and others openly, and I will name the open ones soon. The biggest war on this registration file was from the inside.”

There is a long-running dispute over the sheep/goat and cow milk ratio content in halloumi cheese, as the cheese industry insists that there is not enough sheep and goat’s milk to meet demand.

The application was filed in July 2015, and the file stipulates that the ratio of goat’s and sheep’s milk, or a combination of both, needs to be more than the amount of cow’s milk.

Along with halloumi, the government is seeking to register three other delicacies that very often go together with the cheese.

They are hiromeri, or cured ham, lountza, made from cured pork tenderloin, and village sausages – all produced in the Pitsilia region on the Troodos mountain range.

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