ATHENS – Greece has demanded that Denmark stop the unlawful branding of cheese made there as Feta, a protected brand of one of Greece’s most noted and precious products, and the European Commission has stepped in to help.
Dairy farmers and merchants in Denmark won’t stop selling their own cheese as Feta even though it isn’t because it’s of Greek origin.
“The registered, protected designation of origin ‘feta’ is being used illegally in Denmark, where certain companies which produce or import white cheese are exporting it to third countries misleadingly marked as ‘feta’,” the commission wrote, according to the Danish version of The Local website.
Feta was added to the EU’s list of protected food products in 2002 after a battle between Denmark and Greece. Since then, dairies outside of Greece have been barred from selling cheese marked as Feta within the European Single Market.
Danish-produced “Feta” can usually be found on supermarket shelves in the Scandinavian country under the name ‘salad cubes’ (salat-tern in Danish) or ‘white cheese’ (hvid ost), The Local said, adding that cheese marked as Feta is being illegally sold by Denmark to non-EU countries, says the European Commission.
A spokesperson for Denmark’s Dairies Association (Mejeriforeningen), which represents large producers including Arla Foods and Nordex Food, told the news site that the issue was likely because of a misunderstanding but wasn’t clear.
“Since Feta became protected as a Greek product, we have complied with the relevant laws. But we have naturally acted differently in areas where it is not protected,” Dairies Association chairperson Jorgen Hald Christensen told Altinget, defending the right to continue selling the Greek product as a Danish brand even though it isn’t.
Real Feta must be sourced from and produced in a specific area of Greece. The designation of origin also specifies that feta is a brined cheese made from from sheep’s milk or sheep’s milk combined with up to 30% goat’s milk, which the Danish fake Feta doesn’t.