Official Journal of the European Union

C 57/39

Publication of an application pursuant to Article 6(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs

(2008/C 57/16)

This publication confers the right to object to the application pursuant to Article 7 of Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 (1). Statements of objection must reach the Commission within six months of the date of this publication.




EC No: NL/IGP/005/0329/27.11.2003

PDO ( ) PGI ( X )

This summary sets out the main elements of the product specification for information purposes.

1.   Responsible department in the Member State:


Hoofdproductschap Akkerbouw


Postbus 29739

2502 LS 's-Gravenhage



(31-70) 370 87 08


(31-70) 370 84 44



2.   Group:


Nederlandse Zuivel Organisatie (NZO)


Postbus 165

2700 AD Zoetermeer



(31-79) 343 03 00


(31-79) 343 03 20




Producers/processors ( X ) Other ( )

3.   Type of product:

Class 1.3: cheese

4.   Specification:

(summary of requirements under Article 4(2) of Regulation (EC) No 510/2006)

4.1.   Name: ‘Edam Holland’

4.2.   Description: Edam Holland is a naturally matured semi-hard cheese. It is produced in the Netherlands from cows' milk obtained from Dutch dairy farms and is matured to a consumer-ready product in Dutch maturing rooms.


Edam Holland is produced from one or more of the following raw materials:

milk, cream and skimmed or semi-skimmed cows' milk (exclusively cows' milk) from Dutch dairy farms.

Characteristic properties

The cheese is shaped like a ball with a flattened top and bottom, or it may be shaped like a loaf or a block. The specifications are given in the table.

The moisture content applies 12 days from the first day of preparation, with the exception of Baby Edam Holland, where it applies 5 days after the first day of preparation.

The other characteristic properties are as follows:

Flavour: mild to piquant depending on age and type.

Cross-section: must be uniform in colour with a few small round holes. Bros Edam has a large number of small holes. The colour of the cheese varies from ivory to yellow.

Rind: the rind is firm, smooth, dry, clean and has no fungal flora. It is produced by drying during the maturing stage.

Texture: young Edam Holland must be sufficiently firm and cuttable. Once the cheese has matured further, it becomes firmer and tighter in structure. Bros Edam must be sufficiently firm and hard.

Maturing period: a minimum of 28 days (a minimum of 21 days for Baby Edam Holland). Edam Holland is a naturally matured cheese. Foil maturing is not permitted for Edam Holland.

Maturing temperature: at least 12 °C.

Age: the shelf-life varies from a minimum of 28 days after manufacture (Baby Edam Holland) to more than a year.

Special quality criteria

When they reach and are stored by the cheesemaker, the milk, cream or semi-skimmed milk have undergone either no heat treatment at all or a non-pasteurising heat treatment.

The cream and the skimmed or semi-skimmed milk should undergo pasteurisation immediately before being made into Edam Holland so as to meet the following criteria:

phosphatase activity is undetectable, unless peroxidase activity is undetectable,

measured on the basis of the fat-free product, acidity levels for cream are no higher than 20 mmol NaOH per litre, unless the lactate content is 200 mg per 100 g of fat-free matter or less,

no coliform micro-organisms are detectable in 0,1 ml.

Immediately before being made into Edam Holland, all raw materials must be pasteurised in such a way that the undenatured whey protein content does not deviate or deviates only slightly from that of unpasteurised raw material of a similar type and quality.

Only non-genetically modified cultures of lactic-acid-forming and aroma-forming micro-organisms may be added when manufacturing Edam Holland. These cultures consist of appropriate mesophilic starter cultures for Edam Holland: Lactococcus and Leuconostoc L or LD, possibly in combination with thermophilic Lactobacillus and/or Lactococcus cultures. The available starter cultures play a very important role in the ripening process and formation of the typical taste and aroma.

Rennet: only calf rennet is used to manufacture Edam Holland. Other types of rennet may be used only in exceptional circumstances, such as if an animal disease makes it necessary. The rennet used will then have to comply with the Warenwetbesluit Zuivel (Dairy Products (Commodities Act) Decree).

The nitrite content of Edam Holland, in terms of nitrite ions, is no higher than 2 mg per kg cheese.

4.3.   Geographical area: The geographical area covered by the application is Holland, i.e. the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

4.4.   Proof of origin: A mark made from casein is placed on each Edam Holland cheese before the curds are pressed (see diagram). The mark contains the designation ‘Edam Holland’, together with a combination of figures and letters that is unique for each cheese (in ascending alphabetical and numerical order).

The COKZ (the Dutch dairy inspection institute) keeps a register of these unique numbers, which also contains a record of all test data (including time and place). The indication is easily recognisable to consumers, and can be verified by an approval authority on the basis of the casein mark and the COKZ register.

4.5.   Method of production: Edam Holland cheese is made from milk obtained from dairy farms in the Netherlands. The milk is cooled on the farm to a maximum of 6 °C and stored in a cooling tank on the farm. It is transported to the cheese factory within 72 hours. When it arrives at the cheese factory, it is either processed immediately or thermised (a non-pasteurising, light heat treatment) and put into cold storage for a short period of time before being turned into cheese milk.

The fat content of the milk is standardised so that the fat/protein ratio is such that the cheese eventually produced has a fat content of between 40 % and 44 % fat in dry matter. The cheese milk is pasteurised at a temperature of at least 72 °C for 15 seconds. It is curdled at a temperature of approximately 30 °C. The separation and coagulation of the milk proteins that occurs during this process is typical of Edam Holland.

The curds obtained by coagulation are separated from the whey and processed and washed to ensure that the moisture content and pH reach the desired levels. The curds are pressed into the correct shape and desired weight in vats. The resulting ‘cheese’ is then immersed in the brine bath. Edam Holland is only ever matured naturally, i.e. it is left open to the air to mature, and is regularly turned and checked. As the cheese matures, a dry rind forms. Time and temperature play an important role in ensuring that the enzymatic and ageing processes are given sufficient opportunity to allow the cheese to develop the physical and organoleptic quality that is so characteristic of Edam Holland. It can take more than a year for Edam Holland to mature, depending on the type of flavour desired.

Edam Holland may be cut and pre-packaged either in or outside the Netherlands, provided that the pre-packager has a comprehensive administrative monitoring system to ensure that the cut Edam Holland can be traced by means of the unique combination of figures and letters on the mark and that the consumer can be sure of its origin.

4.6.   Link: The geographical component of this product name is ‘Holland’. As is common knowledge, ‘Holland’ is a synonym of the more official name, ‘the Netherlands’. During the time of the Republic of the United Netherlands (from the 17th to the 19th century), Holland was the most influential of the seven provinces. Since then, the name has gradually come to refer to the whole territory of the Netherlands. In many countries the Netherlands is better known or even exclusively known as ‘Holland’ (Ollanda, etc.).

Historical background

Edam Holland is an exponent of the Dutch tradition of cheese making, which stretches back to the Middle Ages and reached maturity as early as the 17th century (the Golden Age).

It is largely the geographical position of the Netherlands (mostly below sea level), its climate (a maritime climate) and the composition of the grass that grows there (predominantly on sandy and clay soils) that make the milk so suitable for producing a high-quality cheese that is packed with flavour.

The quality assurance systems in place on dairy farms and the intensive quality assessment system (each delivery of milk is tested and assessed according to various quality parameters) together guarantee the quality of the milk. Furthermore, there is an unbroken cold chain until the moment the milk is processed, with the milk being put into cold storage on the farm (maximum 6 °C) and transported to the factory in refrigerated tankers. The relatively short distances involved also help maintain the quality of the milk.

From its beginnings in farm-based production, Edam Holland has developed, by way of production in local factories, to become a nationally produced product of worldwide renown, and is an important, stable factor in optimising the quality of farm milk. At the beginning of the 20th century, national laws were introduced on Edam cheese, and the name of Edam Holland was established in the Landbouwkwaliteitsbeschikking kaasproducten (Agricultural Quality Decision on Cheese Products).

Edam Holland's image among European consumers

A large-scale survey carried out in six European countries showed that European consumers see the Netherlands as the most important producer of Edam (and Gouda). Furthermore, the reputation and standing of Edam (and Gouda) are associated with the Netherlands.

Edam (and Gouda) are symbols of Dutch cultural heritage. European consumers regard them as brands. They are synonymous with Dutch quality. Market research (carried out on a representative sample of 1 250 respondents per Member State, with 97,5 % reliability) in the six Member States where Edam (and Gouda) consumption is highest shows that:

there is a strong association between Edam and the Netherlands,

Edam Holland is more popular than Edam produced outside the Netherlands,

almost half of consumers in the Member States surveyed believe that all Edam is produced in the Netherlands (which is potentially misleading for European consumers, because this is not the case),

Edam Holland scores significantly higher on the variables ‘excellent quality’, ‘traditionally manufactured’ and ‘the original product’.

Over a number of centuries, various measures and laws have been introduced, both by the Dutch Government and by the industry, to ensure that the very high quality of Edam (and Gouda) is maintained. Moreover, the Dutch dairy industry has invested a substantial amount of money in meeting these high quality standards and opening up, cultivating and maintaining markets. Since 1950, more than NLG 1,4 billion (EUR 635 million) has been invested in advertising, awareness-raising and promotion in Europe (excluding investment in the Netherlands).

4.7.   Inspection body:


Stichting Centraal Orgaan voor Kwaliteitsaangelegenheden in de Zuivel (COKZ)


Kastanjelaan 7

3833 AN Leusden



(31-33) 496 56 96


(31-33) 496 56 66



4.8.   Labelling: ‘Edam Holland’ is a European Union Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

This indication must be displayed in a prominent position on all whole cheeses on the label applied to the flat side of the cheese and/or on the band around the cheese. This is not compulsory if the cheese is sold in pre-cut and pre-packaged form as described in section 4.5. In that case, ‘Edam Holland’ must be displayed on the packaging.

A clear distinguishing mark must be displayed on the packaging to enable consumers to identify Edam Holland on the shelves. By giving the product a name, creating an own identity (a logo is being developed) and displaying the EU's PGI symbol, it must be made clear to consumers that Edam Holland is a different product from all other ‘Edam’ cheeses. The aim of the application is to prevent European consumers from potentially being misled.

(1)  OJ L 93, 31.3.2006, p. 12.