This toolkit is designed with the aim to bring together all the relevant information that a farmer or a dairy processor should know to prepare for Halloumi/Hellim PDO Certification.
HALLOUMI/HELLIM PDO TOOLKIT – What you need to know and follow?
WHAT IS A PDO?
A Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is kind of geographical indication (GI) included in the EU quality scheme. The EU quality policy aims to protect the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how.
Product names can be granted a GI if they have a specific link to the place where they are made. The GI recognition enables consumers to trust and distinguish quality products while also helping producers to market their products better. In the case of PDO’s these are granted to food, agricultural products and wines, which have the strongest links to the place in which they are made.
Every part of the production, processing and preparation process must take place in the specific region.
Other IG in the EU Quality Scheme include Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG)
More information about the EU quality policy is available on the European Commission official site
Visit also the eAmbrosia and GIview which are the EU tools that enable professionals and consumer to have accessible and updated information on European Union geographical indication.
WHAT IS A PDO?
REGISTRATION OF HALLOUMI/HELLIM AS A PDO
The European Commission registered “Χαλλούμι/Halloumi/Hellim” name as a protected designation of origin (PDO), protecting traditional Halloumi/Hellim against imitation and misuse across the EU market and elsewhere. Only Halloumi/Hellim produced in accordance with the product specification by accredited PDO dairy producers is allowed to be marketed with the Halloumi/Hellim name. This is foreseen to bring a clear economic benefit to Cyprus. More information about the Halloumi/Hellim PDO is available on European Commission official site and in eAmbrosia
HALLOUMI /HELLIM AS A PDO
THE REQUIREMENT FOR DAIRY FARMS.
The following section summarises the overall criteria that a dairy farm should meet in order to become eligible for selling PDO compliant milk.
But first, have a look at this video to have an overview of these obligations.
DAIRY PROCESSORS & FOOD BUSINESS OPERATORS
What is required for dairy food business operators to be eligible for producing PDO
But first, have a look at this video to have an overview of these obligations.
- SHEEP: All local and other breeds including crossbreeds which are bred on the territory of Cyprus.
- GOAT: All local and other breeds including crossbreeds which are bred on the territory of Cyprus
- CATTLE: All local and other breeds including crossbreeds which are bred on the territory of Cyprus
The animals must be individually identified and registered. Herd management records should contain information regarding mating, birth, weaning.
ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
What are the animal health and welfare requirements?
The dairy farmers as primary producers in the supply chain must ensure that the animals that produce milk are healthy, and an effective health care practice is in place and recorded. Relevant records/evidence for monitoring of these criteria are required.
- The herd must be free of Tuberculosis (TBC) and Brucellosis.
- The Farm should have a Herd Health Management Plan for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control of animal diseases, including internal and external parasites.
- The farmer should observe all animals regularly and use proven methods to aid in detection and accurate diagnosis of infectious diseases.
- The local body in charge for veterinary services has to register the farm, identify all the animals and implement animal health monitoring programmes and microbiological, veterinary medicinal and pesticide chemical contaminants control programme.
- Written records of all treatments should be kept and treated animals must be identified properly.
- Only approved veterinary medicines should be used, at the recommended dose according to the label directions, or as prescribed or advised by a veterinarian. Relevant withholding periods must be observed.
- Chemicals and veterinary medicines must be stored securely and disposed of responsibly.
- Appropriate procedures to separate milk from sick animals must be followed until the withdrawal period is expired
- General welfare criteria shall be respected for freedom of i.e hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain, injury and disease, express normal behaviour, fear or distress
For more information about animal welfare on the farm visit:
- European Commission official site – Animal welfare on the farm.
- EU Food Safety Project in the TCc – Guidelines on the proper use of medication in livestock.
- EU FAS Project Educational Video – Animal Welfare
 Tuberculosis (TBC) and Brucellosis sanitary and phytosanitary requirements are not limitted to individual farms. For a given Member State or geographical territory to be elegible for also marketing PDO Halloumi Hellim, it has to be declared fully free of Tuberculosis (TBC) and Brucellosis at a community/geograpical level
ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
- The local body in charge for 'veterinary services' has to approve and control dairy factories, implement monitoring programmes on microbiological agents and chemical contaminants.
- The Delegated Body (Bureau Veritas), on behalf on the Halloumi/Hellim PDO Competent Authority, has to control and audits farms, milk transporters and dairy factories, giving attestation to PDO eligible farms and certification to PDO eligible dairy factories.
Overall, all Food Business Operators running dairies in the northern part of Cyprus have to meet the PDO requirements and the food safety standards of the European Union, as well the TCc legal texts on general hygiene requirements and specific hygiene requirements.
HACCP and GMP:
- Dairy factories must comply with public health requirements including GHP, GMP and HACCP, and produce PDO Halloumi/Hellim according to the official specification. They have to ensure the full traceability of the incoming ingredient and the final product.
- To ensure the production of Halloumi/Hellim a highly effective HACCP system shall be implemented. Laboratory tests shall be carried out to prove the effectiveness of the HACCP system.
- The HACCP plan of the establishment shall include own controls related to the safety of the PDO Halloumi/Hellim. These controls must cover at least the following hazards:
- Microbiological agents:
- Escherichia coli
- Coagulase positive Staphylococci or their toxins
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Chemical hazards:
- Regular check of each raw milk consignment with rapid test kit for presence of antibiotics
- Verification test for veterinary medicinal product residues with accredited method.
- Pesticide residues
- Mycotoxins (Aflatoxin M1)
- Verification of the effectiveness of pasteurization:
- Alkaline phosphatase test
HACCP and GMP
What is required for dairy farmers producing their own feed or producers of animal feed?
It is key to bear in mind that PDOs of animal origin, such as Halloumi/Hellim, have to fulfil specific criteria regarding animal feed. According to EU Commission Delegated Regulation 664/2014, Article 1. 1 “… feed shall be sourced entirely from within the defined geographical area …”.
Nevertheless, a provision allows the use of “external” animal feed in case the sourcing of animal feed within the geographical area is not possible. In that case “…feed sourced from outside that area can be added ... Feed sourced from outside the defined geographical area shall in no case exceed 50% of dry matter on annual basis.” Moreover, farmers and feed producer should always have in mind:
- Farmers producing and harvesting their own animal feed must have records on the harvesting of the feed. If the animals are grazing, records about grazing should be kept and available.
- Farmers have to produce feed according to the Good Agricultural Practices to be free from pesticides and other contaminants.
- The farmers must keep records. Recordkeeping is useful to monitor use of pesticides, harvesting and dispatching/selling of feed to breeders (goat-sheep breeders and cow breeders) and feed business operators.
- The local body in charge for 'animal husbandry' is responsible for the registration and control of the primary feed producers and for implementing a monitoring programme for pesticide residues and other contaminants in feed.
- Farmers who are preparing their own mixtures should keep records of the whole purchased feed (invoices, analyses, etc.).
- Farmers who do not produce their own concentrate should feed their animals with PDO eligible feed.
For more information about animal feed visit:
MILKING AND MILK HYGIENE
What are the required good milking practices?
- Records should be kept regarding animals milked and overall milk produced.
- Ensure good milking technique and make sure the udder and teats are checked for any abnormalities which may indicate clinical mastitis.
- Milk shall not be collected from sheep and goat in the first 5 days after giving birth and from cattle in the first 7 days after giving birth (colostrum).
- The milking operator should bear in mind all hygiene requirements, i.e. wear suitable and clean working clothes, keep hands and arms clean especially when milking, cover cuts or wounds, or do not have any infectious disease transmissible via milk.
- Proper refrigeration and cooling of milk during storage immediately after milking is required. In case of daily milk collection milk must be cooled to not more than 8°C, and if milk is not collected daily - to not more than 6°C.
- The raw milk should be free from antibiotics and other residues. Relevant records/evidence for monitoring of these criteria are required and should be kept.
- Total plate count and somatic cells count shall be cared for (rolling geometric average of SCC below 400.000 for cows, TPC below 100.000 for cows, 1,5 million for S/G
- Regular cleaning and disinfection of the milking parlour, milking equipment and milk storage equipment should be scheduled.
For more information about milking and milk hygiene visit:
- EU FAS Project Educational Video – Proper Milking and Hygiene Practices.
For more detailed information please check the guidelines that have been prepared by the EU funded Food Safety Project by visiting here.
MILKING AND MILK HYGIENE –
Reception of Raw Milk:
At the reception of raw milk, transport documentation shall be checked at least for the following:
- The milk comes from registered PDO eligible farm.
- Record the amount of milk delivered.
- Check the species of milk production (sheep, goat, cattle).
- The temperature of milk during the transport.
- Presence of residues of antibiotics (by rapid test) for each consignment
RECEPTION OF RAW MILK
Separation of Production and Traceability:
- The establishment has to operate an effective traceability system to prove that Halloumi/Hellim is produced only from PDO milk and consists of the right proportion of goat or sheep milk
- PDO eligible milk shall be stored separately from non PDO milk. PDO eligible milk shall be stored in dedicated milk tanks (the tanks have to be identifiable) prior to further processing.
- The whole process of PDO Halloumi/Hellim production shall be separated (at least in time) from other conventional dairy products.
- All ingredients and packaging material must be traced back to the supplier. Internal traceability system shall be set up to ensure that all ingredients of intermediary or final products can be reliably defined
For more detailed information please check the guidelines that have been prepared by the EU Food Safety project in the TCc.