Feta or a cheese slice?

BRUSSELS – A number of European cheese producers are devising original ways to overcome the ban on non-Greek goat cheese being referred to as «feta,» imposed last month. The European Commission only allows cheese from goat’s or sheep’s milk from Greece to be called feta according to its decision on October 16. However, producers from other countries in Europe have come up with various tricks to sell their cheese as feta. The most ingenious of them is non-Greek cheese that looks very much like feta but on its packaging says that it is only a «feta» (i.e. slice) of cheese! In other words, it is not feta cheese but a «feta» of cheese. To make things worse, the packaging states in three or four languages that the product is a slice of cheese, including a language where the word «feta» means slice. Another trick is the absence of any mention of feta on the packaging, but on the store’s shelf instead, just under the anonymous cheese, with the label saying simply that the above cheese is «feta.» In view of the above, the European Commission, which states that it is not aware of such developments, but would consider them illegal should they exist, made it clear yesterday that it is expecting the competent authorities in Greece or interested Greek producers to submit their complaints so that an official investigation can start immediately into any producers thought to be misleading consumers. However, no such complaint has yet reached Brussels.