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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK
Europe bans non-Greek feta cheese
Feta Cheese.  (C) Worldofcheese.com
Feta cheese must be Greek, Brussels has ruled
The European Commission has decided that only cheese made in Greece can now be sold under the name of feta.

The decision is a victory for Greece, where feta cheese is believed to have been produced for about 6,000 years.


We will go to court - we have produced that kind of cheese for decades

Danish spokesman
It is a blow to Denmark, France and Germany - the source of much cheese sold as feta in European supermarkets.

"Other member states or those who do not respect these specifications have a maximum of five years to modify their description or to stop production," the Commission says in a statement.

Denmark immediately vowed to continue a 13-year fight for the right to sell feta.

"We will go to court," said the Brussels representative of the Danish Dairy Board, Hans Arne Christensen.

"We have produced that kind of cheese for decades."

Quiet triumph

Feta is a soft white cheese made from sheep or goat's milk, and is an essential ingredient in Greek cuisine.

The decision gives it the same kind of protection as Italian parma ham, French champagne, Ardennes ham or Newcastle Brown Ale.

"Feta cheese can only be produced in certain regions of Greece and by respecting strict product specifications," says the European Commission.

Although Athens had been lobbying for the decision since 1989, there was no immediate reaction from the Greek Government.

Officials have argued that the cheese should be made only from the milk of sheep or goats raised eating grasses or flowers in the Greek countryside.

Denmark exports most of the 30,000 tonnes of feta it produces each year.

Greece makes 115,000 tonnes, mainly for domestic consumption.

See also:

17 Aug 02 | Country profiles
21 Jul 02 | Europe
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