The never-ending dispute of what is “Greek yogurt” and what is not “Greek yogurt” and the protection of its geographical origin. There is none. The denomination “Greek yogurt” cannot be used for yogurts produced outside Greece, a European Commission spokesperson said amid mounting tensions between Athens and Prague on the issue.
“The Commission is in contact with the Czech authorities on this matter and expressed its position in a detailed opinion that was transmitted to the Czech authorities,” the EU official told Euractiv.com.
Greek Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Evangelos Apostolou sent a letter to the EU’s agriculture and food safety Commissioners, Phil Hogan and Vytenis Andriukaitis, expressing his disagreement with a 2015 Czech Republic’s draft decree laying down requirements for milk and dairy products, ice creams and edible fats and oils to the Commission.
For Athens, both the name “Greek” yogurt and “Greek-style” yogurt is contrary to the EU Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers, which says consumers should not be misled.
EURACTIV has learnt that the EU executive is currently examining two letters on the actions of the Czech authorities on this issue received by the Greek government and the Federation of Greek Dairy Industries and reflecting on the follow-up actions on this matter.
The product name “Greek yogurt” is not protected by a geographical indication. But a Commission source said in July that it was a fundamental requirement of the Union rules on food information that “food labelling must not mislead consumers as to the characteristics of the food including its identity and origin”, the spokesperson said.
PS and why is “Greek yogurt” not protected yet? Because Athens has initiated the procedure to ensure a Protected Designation of Origin as well as a Protected Geographical Indication for Greek yogurt but process has not been concluded yet.