The extension of the percentage of goat and sheep milk used in halloumi production for another five years was approved by the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels on Tuesday, according to the agriculture ministry.

The ratio of goat and sheep milk in halloumi at the moment stands at 10 per cent, with the rest consisting of cows’ milk. The former will eventually rise to 19 per cent in five years.

The extension was effectively endorsed through the adoption of provisions outlined in the new regulation for the Geographical Indications and quality schemes.

The provisions of the new regulation, adopted unanimously, allow for the extension of the implementation of the decree determining the ratio of goat and sheep milk in halloumi production until 2029, instead of the previous deadline of July 2024.

The effort to secure the extension was part of the agreement signed by cheese producers, cattle farmers, and goat and sheep farmers in July 2022. The new regulation provides for greater protection of the Geographical Indications.

The regulation also includes provisions to strengthen the role of producers, which will acquire powers to manage their geographical indications and can be represented in meetings concerning the implementation of intellectual property rights.

Furthermore, EU member states can now designate producers as “recognised producer groups” with exclusive rights.

The regulation will be signed and published in the Official Journal of the EU in the upcoming days and will be in effect 20 days after publication.