Monday, April 30, 2007


Celebrations are under way in Thirsk to mark the last day a cheese maker can call a product "Yorkshire Feta".

Judy Bell, who runs Shepherds Purse Cheeses, had been caught up in a five-year tussle with EU officials over the feta name of a cheese she produces.

EU judges then ruled that feta had "Protected Designation of Origin" status meaning only Greek cheese makers could use the name. Now Mrs Bell's cheese is to be called "Fine fettle Yorkshire".

Mrs Bell had wanted to continue calling her product Yorkshire feta but the European judges ruled that only cheese made in certain areas of Greece should be allowed to use the name.

In 2002 the Commission gave Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status to feta cheese made to certain specifications in certain parts of Greece. The court battle over feta hinged on whether the term was so familiar it should be deemed a generic name available to all cheese producers making feta-style cheese, or whether it needed tougher legal protection to discourage imitators.

Under the same PDO heading, the commission also protected Parma ham, French Champagne, and, in Britain, at least 25 products, including Shetland lamb, Whitstable oysters and Newcastle brown ale.

But Yorkshire pudding is deemed to be a generic term and does not have to be made in Yorkshire to qualify to use the name.

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