In 1996, the European Commission allowed the protection of feta for the first time. That protection was then successfully challenged by Denmark, Germany and France. Those European countries argue that feta has also been made outside Greece since the 30s.
In 2002 the commission did its homework again and since 2005 feta cheese has been a protected name at European level: the Greek criteria for ‘real feta’ are justified and feta is indeed something typically Greek.
However, since 2005, Denmark has allowed its cheese producers to continue to use the designation feta for export outside the EU. Therefore, the European Commission, supported by Greece and Cyprus, again took steps against Denmark.
“Denmark has failed to meet its European obligations by not stopping the use of the term ‘feta’ for cheeses intended for export outside Europe,” the European Court of Justice said on Thursday. According to the rules, Denmark must take steps as soon as possible to comply with the verdict, otherwise financial penalties will follow.