Agriculture ministry officials began checks at supermarkets on Monday, which to ensure they were stocking their shelves with PDO halloumi.
An agreement reached between cheese makers, farmers and the ministry in July set a transitional period during which the halloumi produced will have 10 per cent goat and sheep milk, until January 2023. After that, this will increase to 20 per cent, and thereafter by five per cent each year – reaching 50 per cent by 2029.
Speaking to CNA, the director of the agriculture department Androulla Georgiou said that they had begun checking halloumi at large supermarkets first, and then the officials would begin checking smaller establishments.
Georgiou said that so far they had not encountered any problems. She added that checks will be continuous and that after the grace period it was expected for all the halloumi being sold to be PDO.
Regarding the increase that may have occurred in the price of PDO halloumi, she said that this was mainly due to the war in Ukraine and the increase in the price of animal feed internationally.
She added that increases in the price of milk as well were warranted as the livestock farming industry needed support.
Regarding checks at international establishments selling halloumi, Georgiou said that these would be carried out through the EU’s RASFF – the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed.
The head of the supermarkets’ association Andreas Hadjiadamou was happy with the grace period granted by the Ministry of Agriculture as it allowed the sale of large halloumi stocks that did not meet PDO specifications.
The price of PDO halloumi was between €1-2 higher than the halloumi that was available on the market until now, which sold between €12-13 per kilo.