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Protecting the quality of feta and boosting demand

Question écrite de M. Emmanouil FRAGKOS - Commission européenne

Question de M. Emmanouil FRAGKOS,

Diffusée le 12 février 2024

Subject: Protecting the quality of feta and boosting demand

Many Greek livestock farmers complain that the Artemis II application is not working, as many dairy companies are failing to correctly declare all information relating to milk proportions, the quantity of dairy products and by-products produced, and raw materials used.

In addition, the competent state mechanisms are not carrying out effective controls.

Livestock farmers complain that there are milk processing plants that use large quantities of (often imported) cow's milk to produce feta cheese, instead of making it exclusively from Greek sheep and goat milk (composed of at least 70% sheep’s milk) as is required by the relevant standards.

Sadly, there have been complaints about almost all Greek sheep and goat milk being exported, meaning that there are not sufficient quantities to produce feta. Thus, feta that has undergone a high degree of adulteration and does not fulfil the criteria established by law is available on the market, leading to:

– consumers being misled and a drop in quality of this superior Greek PDO product;

– losses being incurred by Greek farmers, milk producers and producers of dairy products.

Livestock farmers are calling for proper checks to be carried out by the competent state authorities and mechanisms.

In view of this, can the Commission answer the following:

1. Are there any means available for auditing the control systems of the competent state authorities, whose responsibility it is to perform quality controls in the Greek cheesemaking sector?

2. Are there untapped tools available to enable the effective vertical integration of production and to nurture partnerships based on the ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy in the Greek cheesemaking sector, with a view to reducing exports of Greek raw materials and improving the quality of the end product?

3. Are there any untapped tools for promoting feta in restaurants worldwide?

Submitted:13.2.2024

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 3 avril 2024

Answer given by Mr Wojciechowski on behalf of the European Commission (4 April 2024)

1. Controls and enforcement of geographical indications (GIs) are Member States’ responsibility. To this end, Member States shall designate one or more competent authorities. Any non-compliance or GI infringements must be reported to these authorities.

Member States must ensure that GIs controls activities are outlined in the multi-annual national control plans. Their preparation should involve the consultation with relevant stakeholders. Therefore, GI producers should bring any issues to the attention of competent authorities to ensure that they are reflected in control activities. Member States send annual reports to the Commission on the outcome of official controls, including a separate section on GIs.

In addition, producer groups can contribute to the implementation of the specifications by stakeholders, and they may perform internal controls of GIs. 2. The Common Market Organisation Regulation (1) provides for the recognition of interbranch organisations which may pursue, among others, the objectives of helping to coordinate better the way the products are placed on the market, exploring potential export markets or developing initiatives to strengthen economic competitiveness and innovation.

3. The EU promotion policy (2) provides support to EU producers for the promotion of high quality agri-food products in the EU and worldwide from which feta producers can benefit. The 2024 annual work programme on promotio n (3) includes specific topics on the recognition of Union quality schemes with the aim to increase the awareness and recognition of the Union quality scheme. Promoting feta in restaurants could be a specific action in a promotion/information campaign. Submissions for the 2024 call for proposals are open until 14 May 2024.

1 ∙ ⸱ Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in

agricultural products. 2 ∙ ⸱

Regulation (EU) No 1144/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on information provision and promotion measures concerning agricultural products implemented in the internal market and in third countries. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX %3A32014R1144 3 ∙ ⸱

https://agriculture.ec.europa.eu/common-agricultural-policy/market-measures/promotion-eu-farm-products_en#annualworkprogramme





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