President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday discussed the legal service’s opinion on the halloumi PDO (protected designation of origin) with cheesemakers, who have been reluctant to follow the specifications on milk content.
This was the first of a series of meetings Anastasiades plans to have with interested parties regarding the PDO. Cheesemakers, who were using the halloumi trademark specifications that did not specify what type of milk should be used, are furious because the legal service advised that for a cheese to be labelled halloumi it had to comply with the PDO specs, which stipulate 20 per cent sheep and goat’s milk.
After the meeting, agriculture minister Costas Kadis said they discussed “all the data arising after the opinion of the legal service on the production of halloumi”.
The cheesemakers expressed their concerns regarding the production requirements which will be implemented from now on, Kadis said. He added that possible solutions were discussed to overcome the concerns of the association.
Those suggestions will also be discussed with other groups involved in the production of halloumi, such as livestock breeders, Kadis said.
“We are on the way to finding solutions to address the concerns” he said and added: “The goal is to reach joint decisions which will protect the valuable product produced in our country, the halloumi.”
He also explained that authorities will take into consideration the fact that cheese makers have big stocks of halloumi that does not comply with the PDO specs and therefore cannot be labelled ‘halloumi’. “This issue is also being addressed in a satisfactory manner,” Kadis said.
Earlier this month, the legal service prepared a 23-page document explaining all the requirements needed to produce the Cyprus’ national cheese explaining that only producers who abide by all requirements can label their products as ‘halloumi’.
Meanwhile, the agriculture “minister” in the north, Dursun Oguz also commented on the PDO issue saying that halloumi production by Turkish Cypriots would be increased as there were now 290,000 sheep and goats in the north, up from 235,000.