Cyprus & World News

CYPRUS: UK firms fires both barrels at Nicosia over Halloumi fiasco

06 December, 2018

The firm awarded the halloumi trademark in the UK accuses the Cypriot government of trying to “alter reality” by registering the cheese as a Product of Designated Origin with unnecessary specifications.

John & Pascalis, the British company, owned by second generation UK Cypriots, claims to be the largest distributor of Cypriot made Halloumi in Britain.

The UK is the biggest export market for Halloumi and the firm argues that Nicosia is destroying the popular cheese’s export potential by restricting the way it is made.

It said that they have tried to convince the government that their handling of the PDO file – which specifies how the cheese is made - was not to the benefit of Halloumi exports.

According to the company, sales manager Peter Ioannides had met with the Minister of Commerce and held two press conferences in Cyprus explaining their views.

But the UK company accuses government officials of trying to tarnish its reputation, instead of listening.

“They were hinting in public that John & Pascalis were circulating fake Halloumi products in the British market, creating problems with our clients, forcing us to revoke the Halloumi trademark which belonged to Cyprus, in order to restore the truth”.

John & Pascalis said it had called on the Ministers of Agriculture and Commerce to get together in an effort to find common ground to enable the company to withdraw its claim.

“Our letters went unanswered,” claimed the company.

John & Pascalis said they are ready to withdraw their claim to the Halloumi trademark “as soon as the Ministry accepts for the first time to participate in a constructive dialogue on amending the counter-productive and incorrect regulations of the trademark and specifications contained in the PDO file submitted to the EU”.

The company said that the file includes specifications such as the traditional method of producing haloumi with milk which is not heated to 65° or that it is not pasteurized, the cow/goat milk ratios and shape.

It wants the halloumi specifications include all types of halloumi produced in Cyprus so as to facilitate Cypriot dairy producers to export and market the product internationally.

“In this way, the Cypriot identity of the product is protected and Halloumi exports, which are currently worth close to EUR 200 mln, are enhanced”.

John & Pascalis said that their aim is to facilitate Cyprus’ Halloumi exports rather than limiting them.

“We hope that the government will respond and restore the truth, as hiding the truth threatens the Cypriot identity of Halloumi,” concluded the statement.