Cheese sold as 'Feta' within the European Union (EU) must be made in Greece by traditional methods, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

Dismissing arguments from Germany and Denmark that the term had become 'generic' and so suitable for any similar white cheese, the court backed the European Commission in insisting Feta be made on the Greek mainland or the island of Lesbos.

Judges noted extensive grazing and transhumance by ewes and goats, often in parched conditions, had created "small native breeds" feeding on "an extremely diversified flora" giving the cheese "its own special aroma and flavour".

This, combined with traditional unpressurised straining gave Feta "its remarkable international reputation".