from David Moran, Director and Company Secretary, Shepherds Purse, Thirsk

I am writing to you with a major concern for our company. After a four-year battle against European bureaucracy, Shepherds Purse, one of the UK's largest ewes' milk cheese producers, faces the enormous expense of re-naming and re-marketing its Yorkshire Feta line.
The European Commission has passed a directive to register feta' as a protected food name with an undemocratic, non elective minority vote, and has called a halt to the marketing of Feta cheese made anywhere except specific parts of Greece.
Shepherds Purse Yorkshire Feta was developed by farmer's wife Judy Bell (a recent recipient of an MBE) as part of her family's successful diversification into hand made cheese.
We are seriously concerned at the restricting of what was previously a generic food name to that of a specific country not responsible for it in the first place - 85% of Feta, a salted ewes' milk cheese, is produced in other countries and is a recipe with origins traced to other areas of Europe.
Shepherds Purse has been selling Yorkshire Feta for over 12 years, building it to the status of our second major sales line. It won a Gold Medal at the British Cheese Awards in 1996 and is one of the best loved and highly regarded cheeses we produce. It is sold UK-wide in supermarkets.
In January 2002, we were awarded a Defra marketing and processing grant to support our growth plans to meet the increasing demand for our products.
Our plan has designated Yorkshire Feta as a major sales line in our planned growth and our ability to maintain sales without the need to re-market at this stage is crucial to meeting the output criteria stipulated as conditions of the grant aid.
One of those conditions is to provide an improved market for local agricultural produce.
We are appealing to local MPs and MEPs to support our cause to overturn the ruling to register feta as a protected food name.