The agriculture ministry on Wednesday said it accepted the request of the Cyprus Cheesemakers’ Association that called for the addition of halloumi in unfolded blocks, slices and burger cuts into the PDO (protected designation of origin) list.
The decision of granting the new forms of halloumi PDO status comes into effect as of Wednesday, according to Cyprus’ Official Gazette.
The reason behind the successful association’s request is a normal procedure provided by the EU institutional framework that enables member states to adapt the manufacture of products with PDO status to modern consumer requirements.
At the same time, the agriculture ministry allowed for other changes concerning the PDO status for halloumi, namely the possibility of using fresh unpasteurised milk for the production of the cheese, as well as the now optional possibility of reheating the cheese curd to up to 40C during the production process immediately after the coagulation of the milk.
In addition to that, halloumi PDO producers are now allowed to add mint during folding and packaging operations, while the process of dry salting the cheese was changed from obligatory to optional. Sea salt will also be allowed in the latter.
Another amendment to the specifications concerns the time allowed for the halloumi to be preserved in sea salt, now raised to at least eight hours to a maximum of three days.
On the other hand, the request of granting lactose-free halloumi PDO status was refused, as the cheese needs to be produced with a certain amount of milk, regardless of whether it is pasteurised or not, in order to be considered PDO.
The changes are especially significant for the manufacture and marketing of halloumi since it paves the way for the increased export of larger quantities of the cheese.