EU General Court rejects annulment action against “halloumi” PDO

The General Court of the European Union decided to dismiss, in its entirety, an action for annulment by Papouis Dairies and other companies, of the registration of halloumi as a protected designation of origin (PDO).

The registration of "Halloumi"/"Hellim" as a PDO was announced by the European Commission in April 2021.

In an appeal to the General Court of the EU, Cypriot company Papouis Dairies Ltd, as well as other applicants (T-361/21), sought to annul the Commission's implementing regulation. In its latest judgement on 21 February, the court dismissed the appeal in its entirety.

The General Court of the European Union, points out in its decision that, when examining whether registration of a designation as a PDO meets the requirements of European Union law, the Commission is not required to verify whether the method of production of the product described in the application for registration complies with a pre-existing national production standard.

In any event, the application for the registration of halloumi does not conflict with the national production standard at issue in the present case, the Court adds.

Furthermore, according the General Court the aforementioned national standard does not preclude the possibility that the proportion of goat's or sheep's milk, or a mixture thereof, used to make halloumi may exceed the proportion of cow's milk.

The General Court also rejects the argument that the Commission failed to establish the existence of manifest errors in the description of the link between the quality or characteristics of the product in question and the geographical environment in which it originated.

Also, the General Court rejects the argument that the Commission had failed to carry out a proper analysis of the market for the production of halloumi and the state of undertakings marketing that product.

Finally, the General Court points out that, although the Commission must determine the possible consequences of the annulment by a national court of an act adopted by the national authorities at the national stage of the registration procedure, such an annulment does not automatically invalidate the registration act adopted by the Commission.

(Source: CNA)

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