The Standing Committee for Protected Geographical Indications and Denominations of Origin issued the opinion on the cheese names yesterday. Formal adoption by the Commission will follow in the coming weeks.
The regulations stress that the protection extends only to the terms Gouda Holland and Edam Holland with the two words together and does not cover the use of the words Edam and Gouda, which continue to be considered generic.
The Dutch Dairy Association (NZO) welcomed the decision to give the cheeses protected geographical status. Cees' t Hart, president of NZO, said in a statement that the protection gives consumers a means of distinguishing authentic Dutch cheeses and improves the competitive position of the products in EU export markets.
A spokesperson for NZO told DairyReporter.com that the Gouda and Edam cheese has to conform to certain conditions that justify their PGIs. The three main conditions are that the milk comes from Dutch cows, that Dutch plants are used to process the milk and that certain production and ripening processes are employed.
In the Netherlands the protective status affects 350m kilograms of Gouda and Edam produced annually with a value €1.3bn. According to the NZO spokesperson this adds up to about half of Dutch cheese production.
And cheese itself is the main product in the Dutch dairy sector, which in total is worth about €5.3bn. More than half of all Dutch milk is processed into cheese, almost two thirds of which is exported.