Announced last week, the European Union (EU) has ruled to restrict the manufacturing of haloumi cheese for any companies outside Cyprus, due to marketing under that name.
This could have negative impacts for trading between Australia and the EU with the union wanting Australia to adopt its Geographical Indications (GIs) systems that assists Europe in protecting certain products and their associated regions.
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) is campaigning against adoption of the EU’s GI system for haloumi, stating that this change could cost local products upward of $650 million, based on their aggregated sales value.
Currently, the request is not pending under the Australia-EU free trade agreement (FTA).
According to ADIC, this would also impact Australian dairy manufacturers through decreased sales with marketing costs potentially costing $70 to $90 million annually.
“The EU has already made a list of unreasonable demands to stop Australian cheese manufacturers using common cheese names,” said Terry Richardson, ADIC chair.
This issue follows 2019’s incident where the EU tried to list feta, parmesan and haloumi under the GI system.
“Now they have opened up the possibility of adding to that list once the agreement is finalised, and it is simply going too far. We need to prevent this FTA from allowing the EU to take over our cheese names,” said Richardson.
According to Richardson, haloumi can be produced anywhere in the world due to the association belonging to the cheeses “taste, texture and functionality”, not its origin.
“Geography doesn’t enter into it,” said Richardson. “Claiming there is a special knowledge that only producers in Cyprus possess is absurd and will lead to an unfair and anti-competitive outcome.”