Feta in EU

David Gow of the Guardian describes the advocate-general’s opinion on the feta case, in which Germany and Denmark seek a ruling that feta can be made not only in Greece, but in Germany and Denmark too.

bq. Homer described how to make feta in the Odyssey. Aristotle delighted in its briny, crumbly texture.

A briny texture?

bq. For Greeks, the biggest cheese-eaters in Europe, feta is the heart and soul of Hellenic cuisine, and yesterday the EU’s highest court took a decisive step to ensure it stays that way.

Well, or the advocate-general did.

bq. The legal adviser to the European court of justice, the EU’s highest court, has now reasserted feta’s exclusivity, arguing that Denmark and Germany have no right to call their versions feta.

bq. The Danes and Germans make their cheese from pas­teurised cow’s milk. The Danes, who have marketed their “feta” since 1963, and the Germans, who have done the same since 1985, backed by France, have been trying to overturn the European commission’s 1996 decision to give the Greek cheese the same protection as parma ham.

bq. The court’s advocate general, Damaso Ruiz-Jarabo Colomer, advised that feta was not a generic name and should be seen as a traditional name deserving protection throughout the EU’s 25 member countries.

bq. The court of justice, which will issue the final ruling this year, follows his advice in about 80% of cases.

Is it just me, or does this article give the impression that there is only one advocate-general? (There are 8)

bq. But there may yet be a sting in the tail for Greeks savouring victory. Bulgarians and Romanians, due to join the EU in 2007, regard feta as their own and could mount their own legal action.

It’s a bit early to savour victory, of course, if never too early to savour feta.

Short version of opinion
Long opinion in German (well, at least the table of contents)

5 thoughts on “Feta in EU

  1. Mmm, cheese!

    From the short thingy:

    The word [“feta”] became established during the 19th century to describe the traditional white cheese in brine made since ancient times in a large part of that country and in other areas of the Balkans.

    So presumably other Balkanistes _could_ muscle in. Can PDO areas span different countries, I am moved to ponder or muse..?

  2. Romania and Bulgaria due into the fold in ’07, though but. We will probably be the only person in Yoorp on the edge of our seats to see how the feta cheese drama unfolds, but that is our Imperial Whimsy for you.

  3. I don’t think the Bulgarians nad Romanians have much of a case. They don’t call their brine cheese “feta” domestically. I lived in Bulgaria for four years. It is only renamed for export and only very recently. They call it “siline” and will correct you if you call it feta.

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