Cyprus' halloumi cheese gets protected status

Makers of Cyprus' hallowed halloumi cheese can breathe a sigh of relief.

No-one but them will be allowed to sell the rubbery, salty and much-loved dairy product within the EU, after it receives protected status later this month.

Cheese maker George Petrou said this reaffirms what the industry has been saying for years: that halloumi is Cypriot, potentially dating back as far as 1500.

"Unfortunately in recent years many countries tried to copy us, so the registration, this result that we have today, will help very much, in that other countries will not produce halloumi or something similar which misleads consumers."

Petrou first started selling halloumi inn 1982, using 250 liters of milk a day.

Now, his company processes 250 tonnes of milk per day, employs 220 people and exports to 40 countries.

His expansion mirrors that of Cyprus' halloumi production itself.

The rubbery cheese is now the country's second-most valuable export after pharmaceuticals.

The industry has grown between 20%-22% annually for the past five years, according to official data.

Disagreement on the recipe was a hurdle in securing the protected status.

The ratios of different milks has been the center of debate.

It will be set by decree until 2024.

After that, at least 50% will be made up of sheep and goats' milk, with the rest supplemented by cows' milk.