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EU warns Czechs over fake Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt not made in Greece is apparently not Greek. Photo: Bohemist

PRAGUE – Watch out what yogurt you’re noshing on — it’s some sour milk between the Greeks and the Czechs.

Greek Minister of Agricultural Development and Food, Evangelos Apostolou, has serious beef – or should we say dairy – to pick with the Czech Republic and yogurt labeling.

Mr. Apostolou filed a complaint yesterday with the European Commission, calling on it to intervene in the outrageous actions of Czech Republic and labeling fraudulent yogurt as “Greek” or “Greek style.”

“Greek yogurt is manufactured in Greece according to the relevant long-standing production methods and does not concern a single type of product,” the minister told Greek media. “The term Greek yogurt, either as a product designation or as a trade item, is misleading and does not reflect the reality because it states a particular country of origin, Greece, to which the product owes its reputation.”

Fighting words indeed. A number of yogurt packages sold in Czech Republic contain the word “Greek” in some variation along with iconic blue and white pictures of famed Greek island Santorini.

The Czechs look likely to lose the battle as the EU Commission appears to be siding with the Greeks in this matter. A European Commission spokesperson noted that the product name “Greek yogurt” was not protected by a geographical indication.

“However, it is a fundamental requirement of the Union rules on food information, that food labelling must not mislead consumers as to the characteristics of the food including its identity and origin,” the EU official told EurActiv, adding that a dialogue between the Commission and the Czech authorities concerning the use of the term “Greek yogurt” is ongoing.

Watch this space.

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Bohemist is an upstart news outlet serving the Czech Republic. Feel free to write us at editor@bohemist.cz.

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