Feta: Cheese defended as Greek, name Italian

A bid by Germany and Denmark to challenge the European Commission’s 2002 decision granting Greece the copyright on the widely copied feta cheese suffered a severe court setback on Tuesday. The advocate-general at the European Court of Justice, Damaso Ruiz-Jarabo, proposed that the court should dismiss the appeal. He argued that the name «feta» is not generic, «but meets the requirements to be regarded as a traditional name… deserving of protection» throughout the EU. He said the name «is inextricably linked associated with… the cheese produced in a large area of Greece using sheep’s milk, or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk.» However, Ruiz-Jarabo noted that the name is of Italian origin. Germany, Denmark, France and the Netherlands produce white cheeses marketed as «feta.» These countries now have until 2007 to change the name of these cheeses.

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