Feta cheese reputation at stake

Farmers called on the government yesterday to step up checks on the dairy industry to help protect the quality of feta cheese – which Greece has been awarded the exclusive right to produce by the European Commission. Industry experts accused some dairy producers of making feta without sticking to the rules that specify that the cheese must be made of 70 percent sheep’s milk and 30 percent goat’s milk. «Greek sheep and goat farming have large growth prospects if certain conditions are maintained,» said Athanassios Papatheodoros, head of sheep and goat farming at the Agricultural Development Ministry. In October last year, a European court ruled in favor of Greece having the exclusive right to the feta name for the cheese in a decision which ended over a decade’s haggling among EU countries over the food label. According to the Agricultural Ministry, there are 8.7 million sheep in Greece and 5.3 million goats. Greece has just over half of the goats in the EU, which has a total of 12 million.

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