EU publication paves way for halloumi PDO registration
The traditional soft-cheese halloumi is set to get its Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) registration very soon, Agriculture Minister Nicos Kouyialis said just after the European Commission published the application to register the names Halloumi in Greek and Hellim in Turkish, for a cheese produced in all the territory of Cyprus.
“After many years we managed to overcome one more obstacle. The application was published, paving the way for the final registration of halloumi. There will be a procedure for objections of 6-7 months and I hope that everything will go well,” he said.
He added that there will also be a modification to the Green Line Regulation in order to allow Turkish Cypriots to trade halloumi through the ports of the Republic.
Kouyialis also said that he will announce incentives to support sheep and goat farming.
Some European countries are expected to object to the halloumi registration as a PDO, especially European countries with high production of milk and dairy products.
According to the application, halloumi is made of fresh sheep or goat’s milk or a mixture thereof, with or without cow’s milk added, rennet, fresh or dried Cypriot mint leaves and salt. The proportion of sheep or goat’s milk or the mixture thereof must always be greater than the proportion of cow’s milk. The milk used for making halloumi is Cypriot full-fat milk.
The milk must be pasteurised or have been heated to a temperature above 65C. It must not be condensed milk or contain milk powder, casein salts, colourings, preservatives or other additives. It must not contain antibiotics, pesticides or other harmful substances.
The sheep and goat’s milk comes from local breeds and their crosses that have adapted to the island’s climate. The cow’s milk comes from black and white cows that were gradually introduced in Cyprus, starting at the beginning of the 20th century, and are now very well adapted to local conditions. Halloumi cheese must be packaged within the defined geographical area.
Meanwhile, Bureau Veritas has been appointed as the control body in charge quality control of the island’s traditional halloumi goat’s cheese, lifting the final obstacle for the semi-soft white cheese to secure the long awaited protected designation of origin (PDO).
This means that dairy producers on both sides of the island’s divide will be able to export their products freely and combat any attempt by cheese-makers in other countries to copy or label halloumi, or ‘hellim’, as their own.
The decision was announced by the European Commission in Brussels, a day after Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had a joint meeting with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in Nicosia after he said that the deadlock on the subject had been broken.
Exports from the Republic are estimated at about EUR 8590 mln a year, while hellim shipments from the Turkish Cypriot side are a fraction of that, but account for nearly 25% of all their exports.