Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said that any cheese that does not meet the specifications set by the protected designation of origin (PDO) cannot be called halloumi.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on Wednesday, Kadis said the Legal Service has prepared a 23-page document explaining all the requirements needed in order to produce Cyprus’ national cheese.

According to the minister, only producers who abide by all requirements can label their products as PDOs.

The document will be the topic of discussion later Wednesday during a meeting between representatives of the Legal Service and of the ministry of commerce and trade.

The possible establishment of a transitional period for cheesemakers will also be on the table.

According to Kadis, “the main point of the Legal Service document is that any product bearing the name halloumi must meet the European regulation requirements, which recently allowed for the cheese to be registered as PDO.”

“Everyone involved in the production of the cheese must understand that the product called halloumi is only one, the one abiding by PDO specifications and that anything else produced that does not respect certain specifications can’t be called as such.”

Halloumi producers, who ignored the PDO specifications, claimed they were complying with the specifications for the halloumi trade name, which was established in the 1980s. The attorney-general said that this had been superseded by the PDO and can no longer be valid – there could not be two sets of specification for halloumi.

Kadis explained that cheesemakers who do not abide by the strict PDO rules will still be able to market their products, albeit not with the name halloumi.

“During the meeting between the Legal Service and the ministry of trade and commerce, we will also discuss how to best manage and market products that do not meet the PDO standards,” Kadis said.

“I do not yet know whether we will be able to establish a transition period for cheesemakers and producers that will give them enough time to adjust to the new rules.

Kadis added that the issue will also be discussed with President Nicos Anastasiades at a meeting yet to be set in the upcoming days.

“In conclusion, I believe the Legal Service fully clarified what can be called halloumi. What is left to do now is find the best way on how apply all the rules,” Kadis said.