Claudia Gaponova-official representative of the international women’s Union in the Republic of Italy (Rome).
The EU has an effective system for protecting the quality and authenticity of food products, as all European products must comply with strict production rules. I, Claudia Gaponova, official representative Of the international women’s Union in Italy, will tell you how it works today.
The main quality systems by which products can be effectively protected and evaluated include: indications of geographical origin (these should include Guaranteed traditional products) are recognized at the EU level in accordance with the current product regulations DOP (Names with protected origin), IGP (Typical geographical names), STG (Guaranteed traditional products).
The regulations regulate the General provisions and requirements of food legislation, according to which food producers are required to inform authorities about their suppliers and industrial consumers upon request. The traceability obligation applies not only to food products, but also to all products that come into contact with food (for example, packaging, tableware). Thus, there is an unambiguous identification along the entire value chain from the supplier to the recipients of food products (wholesale and retail trade, gastronomic business), which represents the appropriate labeling of the series and batch and thus contributes to consumer-friendly transparency.
Since December 13, 2014, the rules for providing information to consumers of food products have come into force, which have tightened all labeling requirements.
Geographical origin for food products – systems that recognize and support a specific name of an agri-food product that has an obvious link to the territory of origin or a certain reputation, a production rule that is defined in one of the EU Regulations.
All products in Italy have a connection to the territory (DOP and IGP) or production technique (STG).
DOP-Name with protected origin. This designation is used for agricultural and food products whose origin is directly related to a particular region where all the stages of production of such products take place, and which determines the special characteristics of these products (for example, Grana Padano DOP, Gorgonzola DOP).
IGP-Protected geographical name. This designation is used for agricultural and food products originating in a particular region, which is associated with the product’s inherent quality, consumer reputation or other characteristics, and in which at least one stage of production is carried out (for example, Chauscolo IGP, Red Radicchio from Treviso IGP).
STG-Guaranteed traditional products. This designation emphasizes the traditional character inherent in this product, that this product was made using traditional ingredients, using traditional production technologies.
At the moment, the regulations serve as a General guideline for all certified quality systems operating for food products with confirmed geographical origin.
In addition, it is mandatory to use common EU graphic symbols, which, along with individual names or logos of each product, make it possible to accurately and unambiguously identify and qualify products of the agri-food sector.
Next time, we will focus in detail and analyze the geographical origin of the wine.
Now, I would like to draw your attention to the system of control over the use of labeling. The DOP, IGP, and STG labeling system provides for continuous monitoring aimed at checking the compliance of products with the provisions of current regulations in relation to production, as well as monitoring the use of registered product names that are present on the market.
The implementation of procedures is ensured by a control system that operates at three different levels: state supervision, control with the participation of third-party organizations, and internal control systems of manufacturers.
1.Supervision is provided by a competent public authority recognized at the level of the European Commission. In Italy, the functions of such a body are performed by the Ministry of agriculture of Italy. It also has the right to authorize various public and private institutions to conduct product certification activities.
2.Control and certification of products is carried out by independent third-party organizations. As part of this activity, on-site inspections of enterprises are carried out, as well as regular product quality checks. The frequency and methods of conducting inspections are set by the schedule of on-site inspections approved by the Ministry of agriculture. All the costs of conducting such inspections are usually paid by the companies themselves: EU member States may also decide to partially reimburse such costs for manufacturers.
3.With regard to internal control by producers, officially registered producer Consortia can take over the control and supervision of product quality by appointing special inspectors, whose candidacies are approved by the Italian Ministry of agriculture, and the inspectors must be registered in the relevant register of the Ministry. The inspectors authorized in this way carry out their activities at the stage of commercial sale of products, conducting inspections and selecting control samples of products.
It should be noted that the relevance of traceability provided by international management systems standards, and the term “identification” means the availability of funds to demonstrate the characteristics of each product, at what stage of the production process it is produced and the result of which process it is. Identification means may include markings, permit stamps, labels, labels, barcodes, etc.
During Your next trip to Italy, we will definitely try products from different regions and see for ourselves the quality of their production.
See you soon!