The maker of Yorkshire Feta is joining feta producers outside of Greece in a battle with the European Commission to overturn a ruling that threatens the name of their cheeses.

Feta has been granted ‘protected designation of origin’ (PDO) status, which will come into effect in 2007, meaning that only Greek producers will be able to use the term.

Yorkshire Feta has been produced by Shepherds Purse Cheese in North Yorkshire since 1987 and it faces large costs if it becomes necessary to rename the cheese.

Shepherds Purse argues at the European Court of Justice yesterday that feta is not a unique product like French champagne or Italian Parma ham but a generic name of a Southern European cheese and does not relate to any specific geographical area.

The action was brought to the attention of the European Commission by Danish and German governments on behalf of their native feta producers.

It is currently awaiting a decision from the judges.