The time it takes to obtain an EU quality label for farm produce from a given geographical area, or produced in a traditional way, could be halved by a regulation endorsed by Parliament on Thursday. The new rules, agreed by EP Agriculture Committee MEPs and Council negotiators in June, would also introduce a new label for "mountain" products. Labels for island produce and farm gate sales may follow soon.
The new rules will cut the time limit for the European Commission's response to a registration request from 12 to just 6 months. The time allowed for raising objections will also be reduced.
Better protection of registered products...
Parliament ensured that food producers' groups - i.e. any association of producers, processors or producer-processors - will be empowered to take measures to protect their proprietary names and promote the authenticity and reputation of their products.
... but no supply management yet
Producers' groups may monitor the position of their products on the market but will not have the right to establish a system to manage the volume of protected products produced or to "adjust" supply and demand, as initially requested by the Agriculture Committee.
New definition of "traditional" products
Producers applying for a "traditional speciality guaranteed" (TSG) label will have to prove usage on a domestic market for 30 years, up from 25 years today. The new TSG scheme will safeguard not only traditional production methods, but also recipes, as requested by Parliament.
Mountain and island labels
A new label to enable mountain producers to better promote the added value of their products will be introduced when the new legislation enters into force. Labels for island produce and a new scheme for local farming and direct sales might follow a year later.
September 13, 2012/ European Parliament