Feta (Greek ( τυρί ) φέτα, [( ti'ri ) ' fɛta ] ), - the "slice (cheese )" is a brine cheese. It is in its original meaning a normally ausgemolkter feta cheese (sometimes also goat cheese ) which was matured in brine and a rather intense taste.


The oldest mention of feta cheese dates back to the year 1494 as an Italian traveler saw the cheese stored in barrels at the port of Candia; he was referred to as " Prosfatos " which means as much as " recently " or " fresh". The cheese became common in Greece with time as 'Feta' a, which since the 17th century from the Italian " fetta " into Greek acquired word for " wheel " as this on the Greek mainland and the islands of the former Lesbos Prefecture produced cheese was sliced ​​and stored in brine barrels.

This cheese variety is produced in Greece since antiquity and for its own consumption.

After this feta enjoyed great popularity in many European countries, were brine cheeses from other regions of the EU (which were often made ​​of cheaper cow's milk) to 1997, also sold as 'feta'.

Protection of the term by the EU Commission

After the EU Commission Regulation may since October 15, 2002 only in brine -ripened white cheese made from sheep and / or goat's milk, which has been produced on the Greek mainland and the islands of the former Lesbos Prefecture, bear the name feta. This Regulation Commission, which was from Germany and Denmark challenged ( with the support of France and the United Kingdom ), was confirmed by the European Court of Justice ( ECJ) judgment of 25 October 2005 ( Case No. C-465/02, C-466/02 ).

One reason for this EU decision was the fact that in Greece at that time about 60% of the EU feta cheese was produced in the production of sheep and goat milk was as high as 90%. 34 % of the feta produced in the EU was prepared from cow's milk, which was primarily intended for export to third countries. About 85% of the feta produced in the EU were consumed in Greece. Before the EU decision had only Greece (from 1935) and Denmark ( 1963 ) detailed legislation concerning trade with feta cheese and the Netherlands 1981-1998. In Austria, the term feta was under a bilateral agreement in 1972 with the Kingdom of Greece Greek products reserved. Denmark produced this cheese since the 1930s, mainly for export. The production peak value was here in 1989 with 110 932 tonnes ( manufacture here in the old rule almost exclusively from cow's milk ). The EU argued that the evidence referred generic name Feta is not available. For the protected geographical indication Φέτα (Feta ) led the fact that the original Feta produced only on the Greek mainland and Lesbos. Only there could the special milk traditionally held sheep and goats of local breeds are produced, because only there vorkomme this particular pasture flora, which have in turn influenced the formation of races of animals. This also included an extensive mode of production and transhumance.

Reactions to the protection of the term

Since the term feta can no longer be applied to products of other regions than the original, or for brine cheese from any milk now, Packaging with Greek- sounding name or illustrations are provided. Also linguistic replacement names are invented, the image appear promising as the correct term brine cheese.

Bypass constructs for replacement names are: cheese ( feta type ), Pheta, feta cheese, white cheese, cheese to Balkanart, White cheese, Schipkakäse ( under this name was the Bulgarian brine cheese in the GDR known ), salad cheese Greek-style and German shepherds cheese in the traditional Art the designations sheep cheese, sheep cheese or Greek cheese prohibitive because of misleading the customer, if the cheese is not made ​​from sheep's milk or does not come from Greece.

Some manufacturers sell both products, which are produced in the region of origin from sheep's milk, as well as products that do not meet these criteria. Here is the brand for outstanding characteristics of the products alone. Other manufacturers create new brand names, the apparent mirror the term 'feta', and thus market products from cow's milk.