The Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) has published the Regulation (EU) No. 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and Council of November 21st 2012 about the quality regimes of the food and agricultural products that culminates the process of the revision of the European food and agricultural products quality policy initiated three years ago.
This regulation, that will come into force next January 3rd 2013, gathers in a single legal document the different European quality regimes and, according to the European institutions, it expects to be a more solid framework for the protection and the promotion of the food and agricultural products quality. The new regulation checks the already existent regimes (Protected Denominations of Origin -PDOs-, Protected Geographical Indications -PGIs-, and Traditional Specialties Guaranteed -TSGs-): it modifies certain aspects of the PDOs and the PGIs of non-wine food and agricultural products, it reforms deeply the TSGs system, and it establishes a new regime for the development of facultative quality mentions.
With respect to the PDOs and the PGIs, the most relevant changes are the shortening of the time for the processing of the registration applications, the description of the role of the applicant associations (therefore, the producers and the manufacturers) in relation with the surveillance, promotion and communication, and the will to reinforce the protection level of the registered indications is expressed.
With respect to the TSGs, the time needed to prove their traditional character is increased, and it goes from 25 to 30 years; only one kind will exist, because the TSGs without reservation of the name disappear and, in the last place, the processing time is reduced in the same way as in the case of the procedure for the PDOs-PGIs.
Also, a new regime is created whereby quality terms relative to traits that confer added value to the products may be reserved. At the moment this regulation takes into account a single mention: "mountain product". Also, this regulation establishes that the European Commission (EC) will have to evaluate the convenience of the regulation of the "local agriculture and direct sale".
In summary, this new legal framework reaffirms the current schemes and expects to simplify and clarify procedures and protection aspects. From the Department, it is expected that it achieves its goals and that the rules that develop it end up setting the new parameters.
Friday December 14, 2012/ DAAR/ Generalitat de Catalunya/ Spain.