Posted: 25/11/2013

Brussels blocks World Cheese Awards entries from Japan and South Africa

The organisers of the World Cheese Awards, which will be held this week, have called on the Government to help overturn an EU ruling that has blocked a host of countries from entering the competition.

A recent change to European legislation, due to concerns about animal health and the safe handling of milk outside the EU, has seen Defra refuse entry to a number of cheeses from Japan, South Africa and several South American countries, including Brazil.

While cheeses from these countries will not be taking part, representatives from all of these nations will be joining the 260-strong team of judges at the event, held on November 27 within the the BBC Good Food show at Birmingham’s NEC.

Bob Farrand, chairman of WCA organiser the Guild of Fine Food, said applications to Defra over the previous decade had been granted without any problems.

“We have a strong track record of following the correct procedures, including incinerating all the cheeses after the event.” he said. “As an organisation we are immensely supportive of British farming and would never entertain any action that placed it at risk.”

Farrand added that he had tasted several Japanese cheeses while judging at the Mondiale du France in June.

“Clearly other countries don’t kowtow to Brussels in quite the same way we do,” he said. “This is extremely sad for several hundred artisan cheese makers around the world. The World Cheese Awards is their global event but these EU regulations are preventing them from entering.

“It means we’ll have to think seriously about taking the World Cheese Awards abroad in future.”

This year’s World Cheese Awards has more than 1,000 sq m of cheese displays at the BBC Good Food show and features more than 2,700 entries, 79% of which are from outside the UK.

Those that want to follow the progress of the awards can download the World Cheese Awards app by on their smart phone’s browser.

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