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The Prague-Athens yogurt conflict: It’s all Greek to me

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

EU Commission tells Czech yogurt makers that calling foodstuffs Greek if they are not made in Greece is deceptive.

By BOHEMIST STAFF

PRAGUE – Say goodbye to Czech-made “Greek” yogurt. The European Commission has ruled that use of the term “Greek yogurt” for products made outside Greece creates unfair competition and is — well — a lie, putting to bed a long-enduring dispute between Athens and Prague over the milky delight.

The spat between the two began in July when Greek Minister of Agricultural Development and Food, Evangelos Apostolou, filed a complaint with the Commission, calling for it to end impostor yogurt being manufactured in the Czech Republic with the label “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 at the time. “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.”

A European Commission spokesperson told international media then that the product name “Greek yogurt” was not protected by a geographical indication, but rather that it was a fundamental that food labeling must not mislead consumers as to the characteristics of the food including its identity and origin.

The commissioner for health and food safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, took it to the next level, saying that attributing yogurt not originated from Greece as “Greek yogurt,” while also labeling the true place of manufacture on the label was not good enough as it would still mislead buyers.

Following the EU decision, Apostolou expressed his satisfaction and went further, saying that Prague’s dealing with the issue was “unacceptable.”

“Our arguments were accepted from both Commissioners,” he reportedly said. “From now on we will be insisting in order to protect Greek yogurt and we are determined to address the relevant courts if needed.”

 

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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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