The European Union has recognised Cyprus' halloumi cheese as a protected designation of origin (PDO) product, according to media reports.
Halloumi is a traditional Cypriot cheese, also known as Hellim in Turkish, and is made from goat and sheep's milk.
The decision means that only cheese made in Cyprus under specified conditions can be called halloumi, or hellim, a report on www.euractiv.com said.
The cheese is currently only a registered trademark, giving it less protection from products made elsewhere.
The new status will be formally adopted and published by mid-April, an EU spokeswoman told AFP on Tuesday, the report added.
Cypriot president, Nicos Anastasiades, welcomed the decision, and he hailed it a "milestone day for #Halloumi/ #Hellim and our country" in a tweet earlier this week.
"A shield of protection is now in place. Significant prospects for increasing exports of our national product, to the benefit of all Cypriot producers, Greek, and Turkish," he wrote.
A milestone day for #Halloumi/#Hellim and our country. The EU has registered it as #PDO. A shield of protection is now in place. Significant prospects for increasing exports of our national product, to the benefit of all Cypriot producers, Greek and Turkish.
— Nicos Anastasiades (@AnastasiadesCY) March 29, 2021
EU Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, described the ruling as "a historic achievement for Cyprus" and added that "years of efforts" went into pushing the legislation forward.
In August 2020, Cyprus became the first country among the EU's 27 member states to reject the ratification of the EU-Canada free trade agreement over concerns for the lack of legal protections for halloumi, the report added.
Halloumi-type cheese is also produced in Bulgaria, but its name is modified to avoid legal challenges.
Halloumi cheese is often grilled or fried in olive oil and consumed as a salad or on a skewer.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Conor Farrelly. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.