The European Union has 1000th quality food name registered

On 15 February 1000th quality food products are registered by the European Commission. The latest one has been an Italian sheep's cheese. On the other hand, Spain has 146 products in this record. In addition, the Commission considers these schemes essential for fast start-up of 'Quality Package 2010', by introducing several regulations that are bringing the production to the quality criteria demanded by consumers.

The European Commission has registered on February 15, the one thousandth quality food name. The 'Piacentinu Ennes', an Italian sheep's cheese, held in the Sicilian province of Enna and whose ingredients are raw sheep's milk and saffron crocus, pepper and salt. Since their creation in 1992, the EU schemes have registered quality agricultural products and foodstuffs throughout the EU and third countries in order to prevent fraud or imitations. In recent years, there has been an increase of applications due to the EU successive enlargements and a greater interest in countries such as India, China and Thailand among others.

Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said "The one thousandth name registered is a significant milestone in quality systems, and it is a huge potential to raise awareness of quality European products". Of the thousand products registered so far, 506 are Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), 465 Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and 30 Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG). Spain, with 146 registered products, is the third EU country with more names, behind Italy and France. All products already registered and applications are available on Commission's DOOR on-line database. The Commission also manages two registers for geographical indications of wines and spirit drinks available on Commission's E-BACCHUS on-line database.

Moreover, European rules on marketing encourage farmers to get some quality products conform to the expectations of consumers, and thus guarantee a 'minimum quality' to consumers can help to the internal and international market. These rules are contained in the Common organisation of agricultural markets (CMO Regulation). In addition, the European Commission issued in May 2009 a Communication addressed to producers which includes a package of policy recommendations on quality of agricultural products.

In December 2010, following these guidelines, the Commission presented a legislative proposal, the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on agricultural product quality schemes, whose is aimed "to set of proposals designed to put in place a coherent agricultural product quality policy aimed at assisting farmers to better communicate the qualities, characteristics and attributes of agricultural product, and at ensuring appropriate consumer information". This proposal is included in the 'Quality Package 2010' which also contains a proposal to modify Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 (the single Common Market Organisation) concerning marketing standards for agricultural products, guidelines setting out best practice for the development and operation of certification schemes relating to agricultural products and foodstuffs and guidelines on the labelling of foodstuffs using Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) as ingredients.