In the continuing fight over geographic food names protections, judges for the European Union ruled today (July 14) that Denmark is in violation of an EU decision that feta is a uniquely Greek cheese.
Companies in Denmark have been labeling their similar cheeses as “feta” for 59 years. And that country has allowed its cheese makers to export their feta outside of the country and even outside of the European Union, in violation of EU law.
Feta, of course, is a traditional Greek cheese made from unpasteurized sheep or goat milk. The EU ruled 20 years ago that the term is not a generic name, but a cheese that must come from Greece.
Greece is the world’s largest producer of feta, and consumes more than 85% of it in the EU but accounts for only 28% of global feta exports, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, and quoted by Forbes.
It’s the latest skirmish in battles across the globe that are seeking to keep terms such as champagne, prosciutto and even Tennessee Whiskey used only if those products are made in the regions where they originated.