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EU grants protection to Cypriot Halloumi cheese

Turkish Cypriot producers can also sell Halloumi cheese benefitting from EU quality, origin protection

Agnes Szucs   | 12.04.2021
EU grants protection to Cypriot Halloumi cheese

BRUSSELS

The European Union on Monday gave coveted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) registration to the cheese known as Halloumi from the island of Cyprus.

In a separate decision also taken Monday, the European Commission enabled producers from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to benefit from the PDO protection system and sell their cheese in EU markets if they meet EU health and animal welfare standards.

“The name » Χαλλούμι (Halloumi)/Hellim « is now in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications”, the commission announced in a statement.

The registration aims at protecting the name Halloumi against misuse by exclusively authorizing the marketing the cheese in the EU if it was produced on the island according to the traditional recipe.

“The registration allows producers of this iconic Cypriot cheese, famous around the world for its characteristic texture, folded appearance, and suitability for serving grilled or pan-fried, based anywhere on the island of Cyprus to benefit from the PDO status,” the statement explained.

The EU will appoint an internationally accredited body to inspect if producers follow the traditional recipe, and another to check if Turkish Cypriot producers comply with EU health and hygiene rules.

“This is a major achievement with political and economic significance for the entire island of Cyprus,” said Elisa Ferreira, EU commissioner in charge of cohesion, as well as Cyprus settlement support.

Calling it a “historic decision,” EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides also said “the two communities” on Cyprus “can now reap the economic benefits" of the PDO protection.

Decades-long conflict

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long struggle between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

The island has been divided since 1964, when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was founded in 1983.

The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the EU in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement plan in a referendum that year, which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the European Union.

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