The country that gave us pathos and Pythagoras is looking to protect the namesake of one of its most widespread global exports. Greece and its Ministry of Agriculture, are putting together an investigative board to gather information regarding their eponymous yogurt. All in the hopes to return its production back to whence it came.
The strain of yogurt, distinguished by the removal of whey to garner a thicker consistency, has become a global commodity. A Greek business consulting firm estimates that worldwide Greek yogurt sales hover around a hefty $50 billion. And the numbers have become too big for Greece to ignore, particularly in Europe where roughly 40 percent of the world’s Greek yogurt is consumed.
So the country is stepping into action with plans to register “Greek yoghurt” in the European Union Register of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). What these titles ensure, essentially, is that a product is made and/or manufactured in its country of origin. French Champagne, English Stilton and Italian prosciutto are some other foods that have received PDO designations. Should Greece succeed, any and all Greek yogurt consumed in Europe would have to come from Greece.
U.S. makers, however, need not fret. The regulation would not apply to companies like Chobani, which produces its version of the yogurt in upstate New York. I wish only the best of luck to Greece in its endeavor to take back what’s rightfully theirs.
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.
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