Dutch cheeses Edam Holland and Gouda Holland granted protected status

Cheeses labelled "Gouda Holland" or "Edam Holland" are now guaranteed to originate from the Netherlands. The European Commission has designated Gouda Holland cheese and Edam Holland cheese as Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs). That means these cheeses are certified to have been produced in the Netherlands using traditional methods with milk from Dutch cows and to have undergone a natural aging process. The European PGI logo ensures the high quality associated with the origin of the cheeses.

Minister Verburg of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality is understandably proud of the new European protected status: "The Ministry, the Dutch Dairy Commodity Board, and the Dutch Dairy Association (NZO) have been working towards this for years. It is wonderful that these newly protected names "Gouda Holland" and "Edam Holland" will now provide consumers with a clear indication of cheese quality and origin. This clarity is especially important for consumers outside the Netherlands, and the status brings with it new opportunities for export.

The Netherlands exports millions of kilograms of Gouda and Edam cheese each year. The Protected Geographical Indications "Gouda Holland" and "Edam Holland" may only be used if a cheese adheres to the strict requirements set by cheesemakers and the Dutch Dairy Association, standards which have been approved at the European level.

So-called "Gouda" and "Edam" cheeses are also produced in other countries, but they may not be labelled "Gouda Holland" or "Edam Holland". The names Gouda Holland and Edam Holland were established in the 1950s for cheeses with a particular composition and production method.

In 2009, the Netherlands produced 712 million kilograms of cheese, of which 350 million kilograms would fall under the new protected names. Two-thirds of the production is exported to other countries.