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Traditional specialities guaranteed

Traditional specialities guaranteed

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Traditional specialities guaranteed

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Businesses in the internal market > Intellectual property

Traditional specialities guaranteed

This Regulation establishes the criteria and procedures by which agricultural products intended for human consumption and foodstuffs can be recognised as traditional specialities guaranteed (TSGs).

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 509/2006 of 20 March 2006 on agricultural products and foodstuffs as traditional specialities guaranteed.

Summary

An agricultural product intended for human consumption or foodstuff with a traditional composition, or produced according to a traditional production method may become a traditional speciality guaranteed * (TSG). This possibility encourages the diversification of agricultural production and has positive consequences in several areas. The introduction of a TSG boosts farmers’ revenues and maintains the population in less favoured or remote areas by promoting the rural economy. It also increases the market value of the products of economic operators, by guaranteeing that they are distinguishable from other similar products or foodstuffs. In addition, thanks to the introduction of this designation, consumers will able be to make more informed choices on the basis of clear information on the specific characteristics of the products they buy.

Register of products

TSGs recognised at European level are entered into a register, which is kept by the Commission. They are divided into two lists according to whether or not the use of the name is reserved to those producers who comply with the product specification. A product may only be registered if:

  • it is produced using traditional raw materials;
  • it is characterised by a traditional composition or by a method of production/processing that corresponds to a traditional production/processing method.

In order to be registered, the name must:

  • be specific in itself;
  • indicate the specific character of the agricultural product or foodstuff.

Names that refer only to claims of a general nature used for a set of products or provided for by a particular piece of European legislation, and names that are misleading for consumers cannot be registered. In addition, these rules apply without prejudice to European rules governing intellectual property or concerning geographical indications and trademarks.

Product specification

In order to be recognised as a TSG, an agricultural product or foodstuff must comply with the product specification, and must include the following elements:

  • the name, given in one or more languages, and an indication whether the application for registration is being made with or without reservation of the name;
  • the description of the product, with an indication of its main physical, chemical, microbiological and organoleptic properties;
  • the description of the production method to be applied by the producers, including where relevant the nature and characteristics of the raw materials or ingredients used and the manufacturing method;
  • the key elements that define the product’s specific character;
  • the key elements that demonstrate the product’s traditional character;
  • the minimum requirements and procedures for checking its specific character.

Application for registration

The application for registration may be made only by a group of producers or processors. A joint application may be submitted by several groups originating from different Member States or third countries.

The application for registration must include:

  • the name and address of the applicant group;
  • the product specification;
  • the name and address of the authorities or bodies verifying compliance with the provisions of the product specification and their specific tasks;
  • the documents that demonstrate the specific nature and traditional character of the product.

Applications are to be lodged with the Member State where a group is established. The Member State examines it and initiates a national objection procedure, ensuring adequate publication of the application and providing for a reasonable period in which any natural or legal person having a legitimate interest and established or resident on its territory may lodge an objection. Then it forwards the completed application to the Commission, including a declaration that all the conditions have been met.

Where an application for an agricultural product or foodstuff comes from a group in a third country, it has to be sent to the Commission either directly or through the authorities of that country.

Examination by the Commission

The Commission shall check, within a maximum of twelve months, that the application is justified and that it meets all the necessary conditions. Each month, it makes public the list of the names for which registration applications have been submitted. If the conditions are met, it publishes in the Official Journal of the European Union the name and address of the applicant group, the product specification and the name and address of the authorities or bodies verifying compliance with the provisions of the product specification. If the conditions are not met, the Commission will reject the application for registration.

Objections

Within six months from the date of publication in the OJ, any Member State, third country, natural or legal person having a legitimate interest may object to the registration proposed by lodging a duly substantiated statement. They must show that either the conditions have not been meet, or that the name is already in lawful use, is renowned and is economically significant for similar agricultural products or foodstuffs.

Where the Commission receives no admissible objection, it will register the name.

Where the Commission judges the objection to be admissible, it invites the interested parties to engage in the appropriate consultations. If they reach an agreement within six months, they notify the Commission of all the factors that enabled that agreement to be reached, including the opinions of the applicant and the objector. If no agreement is reached, the Commission takes a decision, bearing in mind traditional fair practice and the actual likelihood of confusion. If the Commission takes the view that compliance with the conditions of the product specification of an agricultural product or foodstuff registered as a TSG is no longer ensured, it must initiate the procedure for cancelling the registration.

Amending the product specification

A group established on the territory of a Member State or in a third country may submit a request to the Commission for the amendment of a product specification either directly or through the authorities of the country in question.

Names, indication and symbol

Only producers complying with the product specification may refer to a TSG on the labelling, advertising or other documents relating to an agricultural product or foodstuff. Where reference is made to a traditional speciality guaranteed on the labelling of an agricultural product or foodstuff produced within the Community, the registered name is to be accompanied either by the Community symbol or the indication “traditional speciality guaranteed”. From the date of publication, all names entered in the register must be used in accordance with the rules stated above.

Registered names may be used in labelling, even if they do not correspond to the product specification. In such cases, it is not permitted to indicate “traditional speciality guaranteed”, the abbreviation “TSG”, or the associated Community symbol on the labelling. In addition, at the group’s request, a TSG may be registered with reservation of the name, unless the same name is already in lawful use, is renowned and is economically significant for similar agricultural products or foodstuffs.

Official controls

The control of the obligations established by this Regulation may be carried out by authorities designated by the Member States or by a control body operating as a product certification body. The costs of such verification are to be borne by the operators subject to those controls. In respect of agricultural products and foodstuffs originating from a third country, verification of compliance with the product specification must be ensured by one or more public authorities designated by the third country or by one or more product certification bodies.

A producer intending to produce a traditional speciality guaranteed for the first time must notify this fact to the authorities of the Member State. A third country producer intending to produce a traditional speciality guaranteed for the first time must notify this fact to the designated authorities or bodies.

Protection

The Member States must take the necessary measures to ensure legal protection against any misuse or misleading use of the term “traditional speciality guaranteed”, the abbreviation TSG and the associated Community symbol and against any imitation of names registered and reserved. Registered names must be protected against any practice liable to mislead the consumer, including practices suggesting that a product is a traditional speciality guaranteed recognised by the Community.

Committee procedure

The Commission is assisted by the Standing Committee on Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (FR).

Fees

The Member States may charge a fee to cover their costs, including those incurred in examining applications for registration, statements of objection, applications for amendments and requests for cancellations under this Regulation.

Key terms used in the act
  • Traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG): this designation does not refer to an origin, but highlights the traditional composition or means of production of the product.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 509/2006

20.4.2006

OJ L 93 of 31.3.2006

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1216/2007 of 18 October 2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 509/2006 on agricultural products and foodstuffs as traditional specialities guaranteed [Official Journal L 275 of 19 October 2007].
This Regulation specifies the rules for the application of Regulation (EC) No 509/2006. It contains the forms relating to traditional specialities guaranteed, including the model for applying registration of a traditional speciality guaranteed. It also contains the logos used to mark these products.

Common organisation of agricultural markets

Common organisation of agricultural markets

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common organisation of agricultural markets

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > Markets for agricultural products

Common organisation of agricultural markets

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 of 22 October 2007 establishing a common organisation of agricultural markets and on specific provisions for certain agricultural products (Single CMO Regulation) [See amending acts].

Summary

The common organisation of agricultural markets refers to the legal framework established at European level for certain agricultural sectors. The agricultural sectors concerned are listed in Annexes I and II to the Regulation.

The European Union (EU) therefore provides common rules for managing agricultural markets, standards for marketing agricultural products and for importing and exporting them to/from the European Union.

INTERNAL MARKET

Market intervention

In order to ensure stability in the markets and a satisfactory standard of living for the agricultural community, a system of price support has been developed in parallel to the introduction of direct support schemes.

The price support system takes account of the needs of each agricultural sector and their interdependence. The measures take the form of:

  • public intervention in the markets for agricultural products;
  • the payment of aid for the private storage of cereals, rice, sugar, olive oil and table olives, beef and veal, milk and milk products, pigmeat, sheepmeat and goatmeat.

Special intervention measures

The EU may take exceptional measures in order to support markets in crisis. For example, these measures may be necessary in the case of the spread of animal diseases or natural disasters which have repercussions for agricultural markets.

Quota schemes

National production quotas are fixed for sugar and milk. Member States then distribute these between the producing undertakings. This Regulation particularly specifies the methods of transfer for quotas between several undertakings and management of surplus production. This includes producer assessments by Member States.

Aid schemes

Aid is also provided for the following sectors:

  • sugar (production refund measures);
  • milk and milk products, olive oil and table olives, fruits and vegetables, and apiculture products;
  • programmes promoting the consumption of fruit and milk in schools;
  • wine and hops sectors;
  • silkworm rearing.

MARKETING AND PRODUCTION

The Commission may impose marketing standards for certain agricultural products. For example, these standards may relate to the quality of the products, their labelling, storage or even their transport.

This Regulation imposes additional rules for the production and marketing of products which have a protection label in the wine sector. These labels are the recognised designations of origin, geographical indications and the term ‘traditional’. The Regulation describes the application process for producers wishing to obtain one of these labels.

Producer and interbranch organisations

This Regulation sets the rules concerning the recognition and operation of producer and interbranch organisations.

In particular, producer organisations must develop a joint programme of production and be able to adapt to demand.

Interbranch organisations do not only consist of producers. They may include representatives from the economic sectors connected with the production, trade or processing of agricultural products. In particular, interbranch organisations aim to optimise the product production and processing costs.

TRADE WITH THIRD COUNTRIES

In principle, the levying of any charge having equivalent effect to a customs duty and the application of any quantitative restriction or measure having equivalent effect are prohibited in trade with third countries.

Imports

The Commission can require the presentation of import licences for products from certain sectors: cereals, rice, sugar, seed, olive oil and table olives, flax and hemp, bananas, wine, live plants, beef and veal, pigmeat, sheepmeat and goatmeat, poultry, milk and milk products, eggs and agricultural ethyl alcohol.

The import duties in the Common Customs Tariff apply to these products, although specific provisions are provided for some of them. In certain cases, these import duties may be suspended or additional duties may be applied.

These particular provisions apply specifically to imports of mixtures of cereals, rice or cereals and rice. The import duty depends on the composition of the mixture. In addition, preferential arrangements are established for sugar and specific import conditions are set for hemp and hops.

Furthermore, the Commission may provide import tariff quotas, specifically limits on the volume of goods which may be imported with a reduced customs duty. The tariff quotas are managed by the Commission and administered so as to avoid any discrimination.

Exports

The Commission may require the presentation of export licences for products in the sectors pertaining to cereals, rice, sugar, olive oil and table olives, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, wine, beef and veal, pigmeat, sheepmeat and goatmeat, poultry, milk and milk products, eggs and agricultural ethyl alcohol.

The export of certain products may be supported by export refunds which cover the difference between global and EU market prices. These may be differentiated according to the destination and are fixed periodically by the Commission, taking account of developments in the Union’s markets and global market developments. Specific provisions govern export refunds for malt in storage, cereals and beef and veal.

Management of export quotas in the milk and milk products sector and special import treatment by third countries are also regulated.

Competition

European competition law is applicable. There are however exceptions provided for by Article 176 of the Regulation for which the Commission allows agreements and concerted practices. The Regulation also provides for this type of exception in the fruit and vegetable and tobacco sectors.

Furthermore, the European system of State aid applies, in principle, to the agricultural sectors. However, the Regulation provides specific provisions for State aid in the milk and wine sectors.

Committee procedure

The Commission is assisted by the Management Committee for the Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets.

Context

Before this Regulation was adopted, each agricultural sector had its own common market organisation. At European level there was a multitude of organisations of agricultural markets. This legal framework simplifies and unifies the different regulations which existed previously.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007

23.11.2007

OJ L 299 of 16.11.2007

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 247/2008

26.3.2008

OJ L 76 of 19.3.2008

Regulation (EC) No 248/2008

20.3.2008

OJ L 76 of 19.3.2008

Regulation (EC) No 361/2008

14.5.2008

OJ L 121 of 7.5.2008

Regulation (EC) No 470/2008

6.6.2008

OJ L 140 of 30.5.2008

Regulation (EC) No 13/2009

16.1.2009

OJ L 5 of 9.1.2009

Regulation (EC) No 72/2009

7.2.2009

OJ L 30 of 31.1.2009

Regulation (EC) No 491/2009

24.6.2009

OJ L 154 of 17.6.2009

Regulation (EC) No 1140/2009

30.11.2009

OJ L 312 of 27.11.2009

Regulation (EU) No 1234/2010

1.1.2011

OJ L 346 of 30.12.2010

Markets for agricultural products

Markets for agricultural products

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Markets for agricultural products

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > Markets for agricultural products

Markets for agricultural products

EU legislation supports the production and marketing of agricultural products, taking into account the specific nature of the individual products. 2007/2008 will see a period of transition from the sectoral approach, where each category of products is governed by its own common organisation of the market (CMO), to the single CMO, a new, unified, approach covering all products. Despite this technical revolution, the principles adopted under the common agricultural policy (CAP) will continue to apply. This new unified framework will be applied gradually to the relevant sectors in the course of 2008.

SECTORAL APPLICATIONS

  • Common organisation of agricultural markets
  • Wine
  • Bananas
  • Common organisation of the market in cereals
  • Live plants and floricultural products
  • Dried fodder
  • Common organisation of the fruit and vegetable markets – (2007 reform)
  • Common organisation of the fruit and vegetable markets
  • Common organisation of the market in processed fruit and vegetables
  • Hops
  • Common organisation of the market in olive oil and table olives
  • Flax and hemp grown for fibre
  • Eggs
  • Pigmeat
  • Common organisation of the market in milk and milk products
  • Additional levy in the milk and milk products sector (milk quotas)
  • Rice
  • Seeds
  • Common organisation of the sugar market
  • Tobacco
  • Beef and veal
  • Common organisation of sheepmeat and goatmeat markets
  • Poultrymeat
  • Towards a sustainable wine sector

PRODUCTS NOT INCLUDED IN THE COMMON ORGANISATION OF AGRICULTURAL MARKETS

  • Cotton
  • Ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin
  • Ovalbumin and laktalbumin
  • Silkworms
  • Products not covered by a specific CMO