halloumi cheese

Opposition is growing among British cheesemakers and retailers over proposals to grant Cypriot-made halloumi Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status.

The Grocer reported last month that several UK halloumi producers intended to oppose the application, arguing the product was of a broad Middle Eastern origin rather than specifically from Cyprus.

The Specialist cheese­makers Association and the British Retail Consortium have now confirmed they will lodge an official opposition to the application before the Defra consultation deadline next month.

“At least half a dozen UK halloumi makers have now signalled their opposition to this application, representing a significant quantity of cheese,” said SCA secretary Terry Jones.

Jones added he was hopeful of building a “coalition of opposition” to the plans with cheesemakers throughout Europe. “Halloumi cheese is produced in many countries, including the UK. It was made in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria before production spread to Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.”

He pointed out that granting PDO status to Cypriot producers would restrict consumer choice in the UK by potentially removing flavour variations.

“This application cannot be allowed and we expect the UK government to object strongly on behalf of the UK dairy industry and British consumers who will not be well served by its designation,” he said.

The BRC did not share the specifics of its opposition, but confirmed it would lodge an appeal.

The Cyprus PDO application has been supported by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, who claimed it marked a significant step in the peace process between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and symbolised their “shared heritage”.