News & insights

Lebanon: The Hummus is Ours!

October 9, 2008

The Association of the Lebanese Industrialists has recently declared that it will work on obtaining internationally-recognized geographical indication protection of the famous hummus dish, a protection similar to that offered to regional food items such as Bordeaux wine, Tuscany olive oil, Greek feta, Roquefort cheese, Gorgonzola cheese, and Camembert cheese.

Hummus is a Middle Eastern dish made from mashed chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic, which has been eaten in the region for centuries. Its exact historical origin is unknown, though it is generally seen as an Arab dish. Some claim that hummus was first prepared in Syria during the  18th century.  Others say that the dish appeared in the Arab world back in the 16th century during Ottoman times. Some even hold that there are references to a hummus-like substance in the Bible.

Despite the ambiguity of the origin of hummus, the move of the Association of the Lebanese Industrialists comes in response to Israel’s substantial world-wide export of hummus, rendering this dish as a part of Israeli’s cultural heritage in popular international opinion.

The Association of the Lebanese Industrialists, founded in 1943, is an economic organization grouping of industrialists from all over Lebanon. The Association seeks to create and maintain an environment in Lebanon which is favorable to industrial investment, growth, and development.