Fearing Brexit, Irish cheesemakers mull a switch to mozzarella

THE herd of water buffalo ambling over rolling hills may look like a scene from southern Italy. In fact the beasts roam in southern Ireland. Johnny Lynch, who owns a 150-acre farm in County Cork, makes plump balls of mozzarella from their milk, and bids customers a cheerful, Irish-accented “Buongiorno!” in online advertisements for his produce.

Of the 200,000 tonnes of cheese made each year in Ireland, 90% is cheddar. That could soon become a problem. Apart from America, which has plenty of cheesemakers of its own, the only country with a big appetite for cheddar is Britain. It buys more than half of Ireland’s cheddar exports, for upwards of €250m ($300m) a year. But its impending exit from the European Union could cause the dairy trade to turn sour.

If Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union, as it intends to, Irish exporters can expect to face regulatory hurdles and perhaps tariffs. Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, a lobby…Continue reading

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