THE regional Agriculture ministry yesterday began setting out its application to the European Union to secure official quality product recognition for Majorcan cheese.

Minister Merce Amer met with representatives of the dairy sector at a meeting also attended by farmers' unions and co-operatives. Amer explained that she had just withdrawn an application made to the EU some time ago for a seal of quality for the cheese. She had done so, she said, because the award did not specify that the cheese was made only with milk produced in the Balearic Islands, a matter of key importance for the government's marketing policy.

Amer added that the award she had just rejected also gave no credence to the use of sheep and goats' milk - something that would not be accepted by local people because they have used it traditionally in cheese making over generations. Part of the reason for yesterday's meeting was Amer's concern to get consensus for her actions to reject one award and seek another which acknowledged the excellence of Majorcan products.

She said that if the preferred quality seal is secured from the European Union, it will justify a price rise of around 15 percent, adding that the majority of cheeses produced in Spain already have the award.

Amer claimed that the Balearic dairy industry is experiencing “difficult times” and that obtaining the quality seal would give a boost to trade.


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