Greek goat milk and cheese will soon receive an official certification that the dairy products came from native Greek species of goats.
Over 5 million goats currently live in Greece, making it the country with the largest goat population in the European Union.
Dairy products made from goat milk, including the milk itself, are essential, traditional Greek foods that have been produced for millennia.
Yet, as of now, there is not yet any certification to show that the goat milk used in these products came from Greek goat species.
Greek goat milk to receive special designation
Now, after a collaboration between the Institute of Veterinary Research in Thessaloniki, the Laboratory of Animal Husbandry at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and local businesses, Greek goat milk products will finally receive a special certification through the Graega Cheese project.
There are a total of six goat breeds that are native to Greece, and all milk and dairy products created from these species will receive a special designation, allowing customers to be sure about the origin of their products.
The products will be tested against samples taken from 327 animals on nineteen farms, which include the six breeds of goat, namely those from Chalkidiki, Skopelos, Pangaio, Serres, and the Anglonoubia, Mourthia, and Damascus breeds.
Laboratory tests will be able to determine which breed of goat the milk came from, allowing experts to be sure that the products were made from the milk of Greek goats.
Goats are prominent in Greece’s folklore, history
The country has a long-standing agricultural tradition, undoubtedly stretching back past antiquity, with goats being at the center of production of various cheese, milk, and meat products.
Scientists say goat milk has great medicinal qualities because of its high digestibility and hypoallergenic qualities, and they recommend it for people who are allergic to cow milk. Research results show that 40 to 100 percent of people who are allergic to cow’s milk can consume goat milk without any problems.
Most prominent is the traditional custom of having roasted goat along with roasted lamb on a spit on Easter Sunday, as well as the iconic feta cheese, which can be made either with sheep’s milk or goat’s milk.
Feta is a crumbly, soft white cheese with a tangy flavor. It is created by placing the curdled milk mixture into wooden barrels. The curdled mixture is very compact and must be sliced in order to fit into the barrels. The name feta, Greek for “slice,” most likely comes from this practice.