Halloumi, Hellim Cheese Trademark Battles Continue
The fight over Cyprus' trademark on the traditional cheese of Halloumi has taken a new turn after the agriculture ministry announced it would file an EU application to control both names used - Halloumi...and Hellim, the Turkish-Cypriot name for the cheese.
This follows German company Garmo AG's recent win in the EU General Court to register the word Hellim as a community trademark.
Agriculture Minister Sophocles Aletraris said: "it is known that a German firm won the European Court case against us and can now use the word 'hellim' in its exports. By registering the name 'halloumi-hellim' this will no longer be the case and we can win back what was achieved by the German company."
If the move succeeds, nobody else will be able to export Halloumi into the EU, he said.
Hellim cheese is also exported from Turkey, Lebanon and Bulgaria, said the minister.
Aletraris said that the filing will be made very soon.
In the past, Turkish-Cypriot political leaders have condemned the government's moves to control what they consider to be their own traditional product. Former president Mehmet Ali Talat said that the Greek Cypriots were trying to move in on exports made by the Turkish Cypriot to Arab countries which import the cheese.
The House of Representatives recently passed a law allowing Halloumi to be made with 20 percent cow's milk so it can be competitive on the EU market, but most Halloumi fans say that the best ones are made with all sheep's milk. The Hellim marketed by the German company is reportedly made with all-cow's milk.
A good Halloumi should be salty and firm, and the aged ones are called 'sklira' (hard) and are much sought-after and slighly more expensive than the fresh ones.
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