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Fight Over Greek Feta Blocks US-EU Trade Talks

Tyler Durden's picture


When one imagines the world's two largest bureaucracies - the European Union and the US - trying to coordinate what may be the world's most sophisticated free-trade agreement, one would expect things like genetically modified crops, chlorine-washed chicken, and beef quotas to be key sticking points. One would not expect Greek Feta cheese to be among the main hurdles. Which is precisely what it is, because as Kathimerini reports "a fight over who can call Greek-style cheese “feta” is blocking the way toward the world’s largest free-trade deal. Of course, in a world in which something as "consequential" as who gets to call Feta by its name will require days if not weeks of negotiations, one wonders why bother with trade when central planners can just print commerce and wealth all day long anyway.

From the Greek media outlet:

US and European Union negotiators will determine a list of sticking points this week in Washington during their third round of talks, and food issues are expected to be chief among them.


At a time of low economic growth on both sides of the Atlantic, EU-US free-trade negotiations seek to integrate two markets representing almost half the world’s economy in a sophisticated agreement going far beyond lowering tariffs.


But food is different and the old issues that have bedeviled many trade talks around the world are likely to complicate the ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between Brussels and Washington.


The EU is determined to write into any deal its system of geographical indications, which protects countries’ or regions’ exclusive right to product names, such as France’s champagne, Greek feta cheese or Italian Parma ham.


US groups say this demand “defies credibility” because in the cause of free trade, US producers would, for example, no longer be able to market cheeses as “feta.”

Sadly, every day we are witness to far more insane things in this centrally-planned world. As for the "Free-trade agreement" between the US and Europe, we can't wait for the two biggest economies to pass it only to find out what's in it.

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Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:47 | 4255151 Stuck on Zero
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What about Feta that is produced by ex-pat Greeks in Idaho who use dairy from cows that came from Greek stock but consume American hay?


Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:53 | 4255159 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



I prefer homemade mozzarella from our family milk cow with some tomatoes and pesto from our garden...

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:55 | 4255181 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Whatever delays or stops those damn talks is good for me. Well done, feta

looks delicious

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:24 | 4255257 Arius
Arius's picture

"Looks" - the key word in the sentence. 

It doesn't look to me though, i might humbly add ... but I am ALL for the patriotic "down with the french fries" kind of talk ...


Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:08 | 4255195 Doña K
Doña K's picture

The French have a lock on the Champane name, the Italians call it Asti and the Americans call it Wild Turkey. (Indicative of American "savoir douche")

BTW: You can not call it Mozzarella, if you made it at home!

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:12 | 4255224 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture


Wild Turkey, I knew there was something I forgot on the list. (for the Bailey's)

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 21:32 | 4255630 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

I'm willing to call Cheez Wiz feta cheese if it'll stop the TPP.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:58 | 4255197 Larry Dallas
Larry Dallas's picture

Show me the "mut coming out your ass or you didnt make it...

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:10 | 4255214 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



I don't know exactly what that means, however, this is queso blanco Mrs. Horseman had hanging in the laundry room.

Here is her Derby...

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:10 | 4255220 Doña K
Doña K's picture

More like queso fresco. No?

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:23 | 4255223 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



Maybe.  My Spanish is no bueno, but the cheese is mucho bueno.

Here is another hard cheese in the press.

I don't understand why people pay to ship cheeses around the globe.  Buy local.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:28 | 4255265 Arius
Arius's picture

marketing and stupidity are the main reasons ...

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 20:52 | 4255541 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Queso fresco ==> fresh cheese

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 20:55 | 4255551 the0ther
the0ther's picture

Probably because will come thru your front door eventually. But if you're selling I'm buying!

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 19:10 | 4255345 johnconnor
johnconnor's picture

you are officially my hero

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 19:13 | 4255353 l8apex
l8apex's picture

HH - that's a whole truckload of awesome.  I really enjoy your pics of the home grown/made/cultivated foodstuff...

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 20:52 | 4255539 the0ther
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Jesus h Christ

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 22:34 | 4255742 Escapedgoat
Escapedgoat's picture

......Almighty!!!!!! You lucky S.O.G

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 22:41 | 4255761 Stuck on Zero
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That cheese looks a lot better than the Kraft Pastuerized Process Cheese Food Solids I get out of the can.


Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:51 | 4255166 Oracle of Kypseli
Oracle of Kypseli's picture

They can work out a licencing Agreement. (After an inspection of course via skype)

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:59 | 4255193 hedgeless_horseman
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What about Feta that is produced by ex-pat Greeks in Idaho who use dairy
from cows that came from Greek stock but consume American hay?

Sounds great!  They may make you call it something other than Feta. 

How about Idaho white-brined curd cheese? 

Or may Freedom curd cheese?

In Boise, I would have guessed they make blue cheese?

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:16 | 4255231 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

There goes another damn keyboard...

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:17 | 4255241 hedgeless_horseman
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Here is Mrs. Horseman's blue cheese. 

Stupid globalists think we need to get food from the other side of the world.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:22 | 4255250 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

Unless it's been to a Bronco game, can we really call it blue?

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:59 | 4255325 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

Brainerd MN. gets the blue cheese.



Woodchippers optional.


BTW: Excellent cheeses HH. Life must be good in the Horse house.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:02 | 4255201 css1971
css1971's picture

Feta is not made from cow milk.

What you have there is a cheap knockoff looks like feta but doesn't taste like it. Which is exacrtly the problem. Call it something else.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:18 | 4255236 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

So..., their feta is beta?

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:28 | 4255262 css1971
css1971's picture

Well the Idaho stuff might be better, but the cow milk "fetalikes" I've tried are all pretty much tasteless rubber compared to real sheep cheese.

My favourite is Bulgarian sheep cheese - definitely beta than feta.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:41 | 4255283 hedgeless_horseman
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My favorite goat cheeses were in France. 

That man, Bruno, has life figured out.  He grazes his goats on beautiful public lands and hosts equally beautiful young interns (unpaid) to do the milking and herding.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:56 | 4255319 css1971
css1971's picture

There's a wee farm about 50km west of me, we drive past occasionally on the way to  a show and they have goat cheeses to die for, we buy up about half the stock when we pass. My favourite is lighjtly smoked, light and fresh cheese.

People today just don't know what good food is. They have been brought up on supermarket faire which has to be of a scale to sell to millions weekly. The result is it is all the same and tastes of nothing. Then these huge agribusinesses which sell to the supermarkets want to trade on the reputation of the small guys who do produce quality.

The feta thing came about because there was a Danish company bleeching cow milk based cheese and passing it off as feta. It in no way resembled real sheep cheese feta except that it was white and cubed.

Simply put, it's food fraud. No different than horse lasagne.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 19:00 | 4255323 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

My grandfather was a well known maker of goat cheese in southern Colorado. After getting off the boat, they were all sent to work in the mines that Rockefeller owned. The mines nearly killed him and he needed another way to raise the family. Being the best at what you do will work if you give it a chance.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 21:28 | 4255623 Its_the_economy...
Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

"What about Feta that is produced by ex-pat Greeks in Idaho who use dairy from cows that came from Greek stock but consume American hay?"

Nope. Sorry. See post below.

Wed, 12/18/2013 - 10:12 | 4256856 schadenfreude
schadenfreude's picture

Feta is made of milk from sheep and goats, not cows.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:49 | 4255168 Hobbleknee
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The EU also has regulations about what size and shape a cucumber must have to be called a cucumber.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:55 | 4255189 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

yes, sure, but cocumber is a slang word for...

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:54 | 4255178 ChaosEquilibrium
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Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:53 | 4255183 PaperBear
PaperBear's picture

Doesn't this speak volumes about what is supposed to be free trade - the fact that somebody is NOT free to call feta, feta ?

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:58 | 4255194 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

no, it's about GMO food and poisoning a further continent for profit

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:56 | 4255191 css1971
css1971's picture

I don't see the problem.

If you make crap fizzy wine and sell it as champage then it pretty much blows the credibiity of prducers in Champagne. It's a bog standard trademark problem.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 17:58 | 4255198 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 I doubt there is enough Feta

to choke off the pending takeover by global corporations.

Three “Secret” Concurrent “Free Trade” Deals:

Can the TPP, the TTIP and CETA be Stopped?
NAFTA on Steroids:


Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:01 | 4255199 Catullus
Catullus's picture

I suppose I need an agreement to trade freely.

These free trade agreements have always been the exact opposite. They're defining what you're allowed to do. Everything else is off limits. Hardly free trade. But leftist morons who take two political science classes think that this is free trade because they call it that.

That TTIP is another globalization plot. Harmonization of policy is the internationalization of law making and eventually tax collecting.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:38 | 4255285 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

who plans a globalization "plot"? I find this view more than strange

it's still about GMO food and poisoning a further continent for profit

profit, remember? lobbyists don't "plot", they just trash down opposition to Robber Baron practices

not "plotting", just mindlessly making a further buck. and another one. Just MOAR, at any cost

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 23:52 | 4255935 Four chan
Four chan's picture


Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:18 | 4255240 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

Maybe America can get exclusive naming rights for hot dogs and apple pie.  And baseball is not baseball unless it is played in America.

Can you believe the number of menus that will have to changed in America if American feta cheese cannot be called feta?

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 20:43 | 4255527 Izznogood
Izznogood's picture

In that case you better start looking for a new name for Football ..

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 21:29 | 4255629 Its_the_economy...
Its_the_economy_stupid's picture

Its all or nothing,see post below.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:47 | 4255300 butchee
butchee's picture

I'l stick with Bulgarian sheeps milk feta, thank you.


Tue, 12/17/2013 - 18:53 | 4255312 Peter Pan
Peter Pan's picture

It doesn't matter what kind of Feta you like as long as you know where it has come from.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 20:37 | 4255511 Irene
Irene's picture

Sorry, the name was changed to Bulgarian white cheese from sheep's milk for years now.  Seriously, the EU ruled that only white cheese from Greece could be called feta. 

In other important news, the Greeks continue to be total douchebags because despite owning the exclusive right to call their cheese feta, they ruined the product over 30 years ago.  Anybody producing "white cheese" from Bulgaria, France, Egypt, Israel, Denmark and others surpassed the Greeks in quality eons ago.  And the Greeks have been overpricing their food for export for so long it makes my head hurt.  This is one reason why I don't feel sorry for them.  They could have a thriving export agricultural market again if they would just improve the quality of their products to what their parents and grandparents used to produce. 

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 22:20 | 4255719 Escapedgoat
Escapedgoat's picture

Sorry Luv I Had to downvote you on the following points.

1st. You cannot call an entire nation "douchebags". You haven't met them all.

The Greek politicians ,who are resposible for all of this situation, may speak Greek but are not necessarily ...Greek (Simitis=Aaron Avouris, Venizelos =Tourkoglou, SomeAreAss, Evert, etc etc etc.) Who are the future convicts.

2nd. " Denmark and others surpassed the Greeks in quality eons ago" You should resist in expressing yourself in terms of eons as the Danes are about 1000 years old at best and Greeks exceed the millenium, by a few thousand years and therefore  are at it a lot longer (apart from the South Italians , that have a similar culture or same). Also the Danes  haven't got plenty of goats, which is the other important part of the FETA cheese, that also got a different mollecular structure and more healthy compared to cow's milk. Anyway the make their own wonderful different cheeses why nick somebody else's

3rd.  FOREIGN BOSSES (Look at the owners of the Bank of Greece) never asked the Greeks if they wanted that wreched EURO, which is the cause of OVERPRICING of their  Products.

4th. As for you  feeling sorry for the Greeks, I would like to see your attitude when the Greeks fly off the handle when it comes to violence and turn things upside down.

By the way the Greeks have not figured out quite yet, who is to blame. when they do home in on the enemy it will be  quite a spectacle.

Also on taste Bulgaria has a differnet weather and therefore differnt plants to that of Greece. The end product is not the same, even if it comes from the same animals let alone the same breed. Different seasons produce different cheese.

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