Greece winning the EU feta war

BRUSSELS (AP) – EU officials said yesterday they had agreed with Greek demands to make feta cheese an exclusive protected regional product, like Champagne and Parma ham, under European Union rules. EU spokesman Gregor Kreuzhuber told reporters that EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler would table a proposal in July that would give Greece the exclusive right to the feta name. [Under the proposal, non-Greek feta manufacturers will have five years to phase out production.] «We wish to promote quality products in Europe, we want to protect denominations of origin like Parma ham. ..according to specific criteria,» Kreuzhuber said. «So you can say the product can be called feta, [only] if it is produced in Greece.» Athens has long campaigned to have feta included among hundreds of products – from Germany’s Dortmunder beer to Belgium’s Ardennes butter – which are covered by EU rules that say that only goods produced in a particular region using defined methods can be marketed under traditional names. Last year Denmark produced 30,000 tons of feta cheese.