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Cheese producers take legal action against EC over halloumi PDO

a cook grills halloumi in a restaurant in nicosia

The Association of Cyprus Cheese Producers and 11 others have taken legal action against the European Commission, in an attempt to stop the inclusion of halloumi in the register for protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications.

Halloumi is scheduled to be listed in the PDO register on October 1, but the applicants are claiming that the Court should annul “the defendant’s implementing Regulation No 2021/591 of April 12, 2021.”

The action was brought in June and published in the Official Journal of the European Union on Monday. In support of the action, the applicants rely on five pleas in law.

They claim the Commission infringed three articles of the relevant regulation No 1151/2012 and “failed to properly scrutinise the application of for registration of halloumi as a PDO.” It infringed the same articles by “non-verifying the compliance with the procedure laid down by the Regulation”

Third plea in law, alleged that the defendant “infringed the principle of good administration because of the extreme duration of the procedure of registration.” Fourth plea in law was that the Commission infringed the right of the applicants to an effective remedy.

Finally, applicants alleged that the defendant “infringed the principle of good administration because the Cypriot courts have annulled the internal national acts on which the contested regulation is based.”

Cheese producers have been up in arms ever since April’s PDO decision, arguing that the specifications included in the halloumi file would reduce production by almost 50 per cent. Association chairman Giorgos Petrou estimated that halloumi exports that were in the region of €300 million would fall to €90 million as a result of the PDO specs, which would drastically reduce the cow’s milk content in the national cheese.

With the legal action, the cheese producers are hoping the Commission would enter some negotiations for changes to the halloumi file specifications, removing some of the specs that will reduce output.

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