12° Nicosia,
29 May, 2024

Non-PDO halloumi being sold off at deeply discounted prices

With discounts on the retail price of the product, supermarkets are running to run out of stocks

Maria Eracleous

Maria Eracleous

Many supermarket chains and stores that sell halloumi are offering deep discounts on singular or bulk sales of the cheese.  These are clearly those products that do not fall within the PDO specifications and are not labeled accordingly.  Supermarkets are frantically trying to get rid of their stocks in order to comply with the September 19th deadline when only PDO-produced halloumi can be sold in stores.

The Ministry of Agriculture carried out spot checks last week in supermarkets and stores selling halloumi to ensure that only PDO halloumi was sold.  Unfortunately, many businesses did not comply with the mandate and, consequently, another week's extension was granted.

As of September 1st, a number of supermarkets have already rejected halloumi products that do not bear the PDO label from their suppliers

Speaking to "K" Minister Costas Kadis clarified that another extension will not be given since enough time has already been given to adapt and implement the legislation. Specifically, in a letter sent by the Ministry to the Association of Hypermarkets dated September 9, the Ministry of Agriculture points out that until the 19th of the month, retail outlets such as supermarkets, fruit shops, mini markets and bakeries, will have to withdraw products labeled as Halloumi and/or Hellim which have been produced by companies that have not joined the inspection and certification process or those that have been produced by certified companies on a date prior to their inclusion in the PDO inspection process. It also added that all halloumi products produced after the cheese dairies joined the inspection system should bear the Community logo for PDOs.  A similar process should be applied to products bearing the designation Halloumi or Hellim, which are sold in bulk in delicatessen outlets, and the PDO logo should also be added to the labels on which the product is advertised on the shelves of retail outlets and on the leaflets issued. In the event of an infringement of the legislation, the products will be immediately withdrawn from the market.

Supermarkets instructed to receive only PDO-marked halloumi from suppliers

Last Monday, the Hypermarket's Association sent a letter to its members, urging them to take appropriate action to avoid any penalties under the legislation. Speaking to "K", the president of the Hypermarket's Association, Andreas Hatziadamou, expressed the view that already stocks of halloumi produced outside specifications or from uncertified dairies have been significantly reduced in recent days. Already since September 1, a number of supermarkets have stopped receiving these stocks, while recommendations have been made to the receiving managers not to accept halloumi products other than those bearing the PDO mark. In the coming days, the recommendations will become strict on this issue. The aim is to exhaust all "illegal" quantities of the product by next Monday. At the same time, in consultation with suppliers, supermarkets are looking at ways to increase market demand for the product, such as percentage discounts, or 1+1 quantity offers, which have already been recorded in the supermarkets' refrigerators. Of course, there is also the possibility of changing the label and making the same product available under a different name, which is already observed in some cases.

The penalties

From September 19, inspections will begin by the inspectors of the Ministry of Agriculture at retail outlets selling halloumi who will check whether the product comes from a certified dairy and whether it bears the PDO label. If a violation of the legislation is detected, the product will be immediately removed from the supermarket/fruit market/mini-market, etc. Subsequently, the process of tracing the product's marketing chain will begin. The responsibility will fall on both the sellers and the producers. According to the Minister of Agriculture, the competent authority may withdraw or retain the products and those who do not comply may be taken to court.

Cyprus  |  halloumi  |  PDO

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