The European Commission announced on Monday the official decision for the registration of halloumi/hellim as a protected designation of origin (PDO) product, protecting it against imitation and misuse across the EU.
The European Commission also adopted a measure allowing the product to cross the Green Line, provided that the cheese and milk from which it was made has met all EU animal and public health standards, in order to facilitate producers in the Turkish Cypriot community to draw full benefits from the protection.
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, noted after the publication of the decision that “today, the Commission adopted an historic Decision after years of dedicated work. With the unanimous endorsement of all Member States, today we safeguard not only a unique national product of Cyprus, but also our Union’s strict sanitary protections, which are paramount for food safety. The Commission has developed this framework in agreement with Cyprus competent authorities, and is fully committed to supporting its successful implementation and oversight. The two communities in Cyprus can now reap the economic benefits of this Decision, pending the reunification of the country, while ensuring that our stringent food safety standards are upheld.”
According to the decision, only halloumi, or hellim as it is known in the north, produced in Cyprus according to the product specification is now allowed to use the registered name, bringing clear economic benefits to the island.
The measure accompanying the registration of halloumi as a PDO product aims at ensuring that the animal and public health situation in the EU as well as food safety are not compromised. It also establishes the conditions for trade to take place including provisions on controls. In addition, the milk processing establishments will have to be in compliance with the relevant public health rules.