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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
Feta-ccompli for big cheese name
Judy Bell with the Yorkshire 'feta'
Judy Bell has now re-named her cheese Fine Fettle Yorkshire
Celebrations are under way in Thirsk to mark the last day a cheese maker can call a product "Yorkshire Feta".

Judy Bell, who runs Shepherds Purse Cheeses, had been caught up in a five-year tussle with EU officials over the feta name of a cheese she produces.

EU judges then ruled that feta had "Protected Designation of Origin" status meaning only Greek cheese makers could use the name.

Now Mrs Bell's cheese is to be called "Fine fettle Yorkshire".

Food labelling

Mrs Bell had wanted to continue calling her product Yorkshire feta but the European judges ruled that only cheese made in certain areas of Greece should be allowed to use the name.

The case had been brought by Denmark and Germany, seeking to challenge European Commission rules designed to protect certain place names used on food labelling.

In 2002 the Commission gave Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status to feta cheese made to certain specifications in certain parts of Greece.

The court battle over feta hinged on whether the term was so familiar it should be deemed a generic name available to all cheese producers making feta-style cheese, or whether it needed tougher legal protection to discourage imitators.

Under the same PDO heading, the commission also protected Parma ham, French Champagne, and, in Britain, at least 25 products, including Shetland lamb, Whitstable oysters and Newcastle brown ale.

But Yorkshire pudding is deemed to be a generic term and does not have to be made in Yorkshire to qualify to use the name.

The judges decreed that "feta" is too closely associated with its acknowledged Greek roots for the name to be divorced from its geographical background.

When the feta battle reached court in 2005, Mrs Bell, founder of Shepherd's Purse, warned that a final ruling in Greece's favour would hit her firm hard, as it would cost a huge amount to rebrand its feta output.

She said at the time: "We have never tried to pull the wool over anyone's eyes - it is very clear from the label that it's Yorkshire feta."

Inside the dairy as production continues

Food firm cheesed off over ruling
25 Oct 05 |  North Yorkshire
European blow for UK cheesemaker
10 May 05 |  Business
Yorkshire feta fights Euro rule
15 Feb 05 |  North Yorkshire

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