French farmers in feta ferment

PARIS (AFP) – Farmers from southern France yesterday urged the government to appeal against a European decision that stops them using the name «feta» for their cheese, reserving it for the exclusive use of Greek producers. In an open letter published in national newspapers, the Federation of Unions of Ewe Farmers (FRSEB) said the European Commission ruling flew in the face of accepted usage of the feta brand, and would be devastating to French cheesemakers. «Like yogurt, feta is a shared, international name for a product manufactured from the milk of the cow, ewe, goat, buffalo, or their mixture.. .. Made for a very long time in many countries, feta is an example of a generic term, available for all,» said the union’s president, Jacques Bernat. In October the Brussels-based Commission acceded to Greece’s longstanding claim and granted the white brine cheese a «label of protected origin,» meaning that the name feta can be used only by farmers in designated parts of Greece using specific methods of production. French sheep farmers produce 12,000 tons of feta a year.

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