A family of English cheesemakers is angry that the British government recently offered no help with its fight to protect the country's feta cheese business.

Judy and Nigel Bell have been told to stop making feta cheese at their farm as the European Commission ruled three years ago only certain producers in Greece, using a specific recipe, can use the name. Feta was granted protected designation of origin (PDO) status, so from 2007 only Greek producers can use the term feta.

Despite the fact that feta has for centuries been produced all over the Mediterranean, it will be illegal for anyone else to give cheese that name. The Bells, who make cheese from a 400-acre farm in Thirsk, Yorkshire, have support from other European countries. Lawyers from Denmark and Germany (where feta is a multi-million pound industry) are fighting for cheesemakers across Europe. But the British government did not send a representative to support the Bells in their appeal against the ruling last month.