European Commission has recognized today the Bulgarian white brined cheese as a Protected Designation of Origin. This happened with the publication of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/1571 for the entry of a name in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications ("Bulgarian white brine cheese/ Bulgarsko byalo salamureno sirene" (PDO)) in the Official Journal of the EU.
The initiative to register the name belongs again to the producers’ group of the Bulgarian Traditional Dairy Products Association. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food (MAF) submitted the application for registration to the EC in February 2021.
This is the third native product of protected geographical indication, after PGI "Bulgarian rose oil" and PDO "Bulgarian yogurt", which contains the name of the country within itself. Products with widespread popularity and proven international authority in exceptional cases receive name recognition.
In the PDO "Bulgarian white brined cheese" just like in the PDO "Bulgarian yogurt”, the defined geographical area of production is the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, while the raw material used is full-fat milk from cow, sheep, goat, buffalo or mixed from this region only.
The favorable climatic and natural conditions in the country help the development of lactic acid bacteria, which has been used in the production process and influenced its specific characteristics since ancient times.
The traditional Bulgarian White Brined Cheese is a fermented dairy product made from full-fat cow's, sheep's, goat's, buffalo's or mixed milk with added yeasts containing Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis and Lactobacillus casei, and symbiotic yeasts from Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The production process involves curdling and brining. The combination of taste and aroma from these components forms the "bouquet" of the cheese.
After the entry into force of the regulation, only producers, working in accordance with the approved product specification, certified by a controlling person, could use PDO or abbreviation, as well as the special symbol (logo) of the EU, with which PDO products are recognised. For this purpose, they should have undergone an approval procedure of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and their names should be entered in the register of manufacturers for the given product on the website of the ministry.Products with protected geographical indications may also be included in agreements between the EU and third countries on mutual recognition, cooperation and protection in the field of geographical indications. This improves the competitiveness and access of Bulgarian products to new markets.