Have you ever thought you will laugh an EU regulation?
I found at http://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/Courses/his452/fetawars.html a really amusing story. I have laugh about an hour reading it. If you have time to spend I recommend you to read the entire story.

I try to reproduce it short ;)
The European Union is a large union including 27 member states. Each country is trying to keep its national identity and of course want be proud of its national symbols – history, victories, famous people, writers, traditions, food etc. Feta cheese has become a reason to involve many countries from EU in a furious conflict.

Summary of the Conflict: In 1994, Greece asked ...
for PDO status from the EU for feta cheese, which they contended was a uniquely Greek product. The European Commission accepted this in 1996 despite the anger of Denmark, Germany, and France. These three nations stood to lose a great deal of money if feta became a strictly Greek product. However, this decision was overturned in 1999 due to challenges mounted by the aforementioned nations. The Commission conducted an investigation into the origins of feta, accepting information from both sides, and in 2002 declared that PDO status would be given to Greece. On October 14, 2002 feta cheese was officially named a Greek product that can only be produced in particular areas of Greece and under certain regulations. Other countries have continued to protest this ruling, requiring a recent reaffirmation by the Commission in 2005. The most intriguing development involves the impending entrance into the EU of Bulgaria. Unlike Denmark, Germany, and France, who argued against the PDO status for predominantly economic reasons, Bulgaria has its own cultural claims to feta. Bulgarians contend that feta is in fact their own, and it appears certain that the feta conflict will continue.”

History of Feta Cheese Production: Feta cheese is a brined cheese that is made from goat and sheep milk… Within Greece, feta has been produced in much the same way for thousands of years. The unique climate of the Greek mountains is believed to give feta cheese its distinct taste, with the main ingredient coming from sheep and goats that graze in the area… It takes about an hour for the milk to coagulate, and then it is cut into large cubes. These cubes are packed away into barrels and refrigerated for about two months… The interesting thing about feta cheese is that it continues to develop as it ages, much like fine wine. It will taste differently depending on how many months it has been allowed to age. The Greeks have been regulating this process since 1935, and their firm tradition ensures a cheese with a strong, salty taste. Other producers, like France and Denmark, often use cow's milk in the process, and they may use coloring agents that Greek producers strictly prohibit…

Denmark is the second largest feta cheese producer in Europe, producing about 30,000 tons a year and exporting most of it. It started production in the 1930's, and then began to market its cheese as "feta" in 1963.
France started producing feta in the 1930's, and a vast amount of this production is currently exported to other countries.
Germany started its feta production much more recently, beginning in 1972. They began marketing it as "feta" in 1985.

Producers in these countries believe that the Greeks can have their genuine brand of feta, but that the term itself should not be removed from use. This will require significant remarketing costs as well as a probable drop in revenue when the former "feta" cheese receives a name unknown to consumers. All three of these countries export most of their feta cheese.”

And now the conflict began to escalate! This is actually the funny part …

“The projected 2007 entrance into the EU of Bulgaria further complicates the conflict. Unlike the economically focused arguments of Denmark, Germany, and France, Bulgaria has deeper cultural claims to feta cheese. Bulgaria produces its own white brined cheese, very similar to the Greek feta cheese. Some Bulgarians claim that what is known as "feta" cheese actually originated in their country, and thus should not be designated as a product of Greece only. Currently, Greek and Bulgarian diplomats are battling over cheese issues. Greece complains that Bulgarian firms are illegally marketing their brined cheese as feta and exporting it to other countries. The Bulgarians have retorted by claiming that Greek producers have been repackaging Bulgarian cheese and marketing it as their own feta. With the entrance of Bulgaria into the EU, the tension is certain to escalate.”

So, this is not the end of the publication. The author has published opinions from people all over the world; some people travel often and know all the traditional dishes, other people have never heard about the Macedonian salad …
Not to forget to mention “…national identities are far more vivid and have the benefit of a historical past that appeals to people in a far greater way than this comparatively new notion of Europe…”

If we set aside national identity, competitiveness, market, export, fairness, profit etc. I want to ask:
Why people have to lose time and money in investigation such “problems”
Is it real a problem or just a way to turn aside the attention of the inhabitants in other directions and meanwhile making unfair policies?
Why I pay taxes - 6% of the EU budget is going for EU-administration and the budget main money source is GDP from the each member state: http://europa.eu/abc/budget/use/administration/index_en.htm

If I want to produce chocolate should Switzerland stop me? Switzerland is famous with chocolate and watches but actually Switzerland is not part of the European Union.
I’m sure that in the coming years we’ll find in all stores Feta cheese made in China :)

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3 коментара:

Helix said...

Hey, my little tasty Bulgarian feta chese!
This is really funny! I guess I have heard that there is a similar story about the “rakiya”…
(I like most home made!)
Where is the truth again?
The truth is that the whole arguing is about financial and market benefits of course. I hardly would believe it that the politics’ position is at the moral side.
Once I was in Greece and I ate there in a small family restaurant the most delicious feta cheese in the world! It was covered with a slice of tomato, backed in АLU-folio for very few minutes in an oven. Mmmm! The white cheese looked so pure and combined with the tomato full of energy and vitamins. The smell of the dish was overwhelming! I could only dream of tasting it! It was fantastic! It was melting in my mouth and bringing me delight in my meal… I will never forget it!
For many years my grandmother have produced (for our family) very tasty goat feta cheese. She used a special ingredient and the result was unique! The grand parents of my husband breed sheeps and they also have a special technology of producing sheep feta cheese which is also very tasty and I enjoy it every time. I don’t think that any of them stole it from Greece or somewhere else!
The feta (or white) cheese is a very “fundamental” part of the Bulgarian traditional kitchen and folklore: banitza, guiveche po shopski, almost in each salad, as garnish or just so. There is a very ancient Bulgarian welcome custom: the master of the house meets the guests offering them brad and feta cheese. Thus he/she shows them his/her joy of having them home!
The feta cheese that I saw in the German stores was from Greece and from Denmark (unfortunately not from Bulgaria). But neither of them can compare with the home made feta cheese which is prepared with healthy milk, individual diligence and the knowledge given from generation to generation! This knowledge can’t be stolen from the politicians or the big companies! But if we don’t care for our native traditions we will be the ones to claim for loosing them.
Each region has its typical, climate, flora and fauna. Can we produce the same wine as the French? Can we find in Italy the same yogurt as ours? By the way: wasn’t there also an arguing about the “Lactobacterium bulgaricum”?
I think that nowadays with modern technology can everywhere be produced anything. You are right: maybe the next are the Chinese!But do they can get the same taste as our grand parents?

addicted to life said...

Dear Helix,
that is exatly the point!

/i couldn't believe that behind these thoughts is hidden a smart blonde girl: http://www.blogger.com/profile/09810011326223460589/ ;)
:) ;) :)

it's all about the money but the taste is different :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Helix!

after all I have to say that feta is a Greek product!
I think "feat" from other countries have to be named differently and not as FETA.

So far...