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Halloumi products under the PDO Certification | Halloumi Cheese

April 24, 2023

Following the requests submitted by the Cyprus Cheesemakers’ Association, The Ministry of Agriculture introduced changes to the PDO legislative framework for halloumi. Most of the requests were accepted, as can be seen from the relevant publication in the Gazette of the Republic.

It is widely known that halloumi is one of the most important export products of Cyprus, together with pharmaceutical products, potatoes, cement and citrus. More specifically, halloumi exports in the period 2017-2021 reached 1.34 billion euros, while in the first nine months of 2022 they rose to 32 thousand tons, worth 227 million euros. Therefore, it is no coincidence that halloumi is considered the “white gold” of the island.

The main changes applied in the European PDO framework for halloumi concern: a) the products covered by the agreement, and b) the percentage of goat and/or sheep milk the cheese must contain.

Initially, PDO certification included only the traditional halloumi cheese itself. However, following a proposal by the producers, halloumi products are also included now, such as cheese slices for burgers, ready-made halloumi croquettes etc.—a particularly important decision, as these products are particularly popular and form an important part of exports, especially in the United Kingdom and the Scandinavia.

Regarding the percentage of goat and sheep milk, initially the application of the required terms was postponed to 2024, as requested. After the transition period, the cheese should contain 10% sheep milk during the low production period (February to August) and at least 25% during the high production period.

Let us remind that the goal is to add 5% of goat and sheep milk every year, until it reaches 50%, in 2029.

Most of the objections related to the PDO framework were satisfied or withdrawn, except for the lawsuit by the Pancyprian Organisation of Cattle Farmers (POCF), which was seen as a means of pressure towards the government, in order to extend the transition period for reducing cow milk in halloumi beyond 2029.


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