Greece’s dairy producers reacted angrily to reports that Greek feta cheese is no longer on the list of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) in the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreemetn (CETA) between the European Union and Canada,
The Federation of Greek Dairy Products Industries (SEVGAP) described the development as “scandalous”and warned Greek Members of the European Parliament that their consent “to such a scandalous injustice against the country will comprise a national betrayal.”
On Wednesday, the European Parliament approved the CETA free trade deal with an overwhelming majority. The deal was approved by 408 votes to 254, with 33 abstentions.
The federation dismissed what it called a vague and unofficial promise by the EU to re-examine the feta-PDO issue five years after implementation of CETA.
The group called the promise “bait” towards the Greek government in order to ensure its approval.
Greece’s iconic cheese, Feta, was i the middle of fierce battles to secure the name.
In 2013, an agreement was reached with Canada in which feta made in Canada would be called “feta style” cheese, and would not depict on the label anything evoking Greece. Canadian companies using the ‘feta’ name before October 2013 can continue to do so.
After a long legal battle with Denmark, which produced a cheese under the same name using chemically blanched cow’s milk, the term “feta” has been a protected designation of origin (PDO) since October 2002, which limits the name “feta” within the European Union to brined cheese made exclusively of sheep’s/goat’s milk in Greece.
According to the European Commission, the biodiversity of the land coupled with the special breeds of sheep and goats used for milk is what gives feta cheese a specific aroma and flavor.
When needed to describe an imitation feta, names such as “salad cheese” and “Greek-style cheese” are used.
The European Commission gave other nations five years to find a new name for their “feta” cheese, or stop production. Because of the decision by the European Union, Danish dairy company Arla Foods changed the name of its white cheese products to Apetina, which is also the name of an Arla food brand established in 1991.
PS They all want to produce and sell Feta, but Feta is Feta, the rest is just “White Cheese”.