Goat and sheep farmers on Saturday called off a planned strike over halloumi details although they reiterated they were not happy with the new specifications.

The Coordinating Committee of Goat and Sheep Breeders spoke out against the decree issued this week which sets the quota of goat and sheep milk in the preparation of halloumi at 19 per cent.

It said it is not necessary to increase the amount of sheep and goat milk in halloumi for the faithful implementation of the PDO Regulation for halloumi.

But they will not strike on Monday as had been planned.

On Friday the cheesemakers association called on Minister of Commerce George Papanastasiou to consult with all relevant parties before making a final decision.

The government gazette announcement and the association’s subsequent reaction came just a day after association chairman Marios Constantinou said the agriculture ministry had instructed producers to “abolish” goat’s and sheep’s milk halloumi with the aim of increasing the ratio of goat’s and sheep’s milk in mixed milk halloumi.

“What we have been told by the agriculture ministry is not to produce goat’s and sheep’s milk halloumi again – to abolish goat halloumi – in the coming months so that we can increase the percentage [of goat’s milk] in mixed halloumi,” he said.

The milk ratio adjustment comes as a result of the European Union’s protected designation of origin (PDO) guidelines, which state that there must be an eventual 50-50 split between cow’s milk and goat’s and sheep’s milk in halloumi.