The European Commission announced this week that it will overhaul a variety of schemes that help producers highlight and protect the quality of their products.
The Commission has set out a proposal for a new "Agricultural Product Quality Schemes Regulation", which will bring coherence and clarity to existing EU schemes such as the flagship scheme for protected designations of origin and geographical indications (PDOs and PGIs), the traditional specialities guaranteed scheme (TSGs) and Optional Quality Terms.
The proposal reinforces the EU quality schemes by gathering them into a single piece of legislation. A common and simplified registration procedure for geographical indications and traditional specialities will be introduced, as well as clearer guidelines on the relations between trade marks and geographical indications, the role of applicant groups and the definition of a "traditional speciality guaranteed".
Consumers as well as producers will benefit as the strengthened schemes will allow for more informed product choices to be made. The proposal forms part of a wider package announced to help support quality agricultural products in the EU. Other measures in the "Quality Package" include a proposal to streamline adoption of marketing standards by the Commission and new guidelines on best practices for voluntary certification schemes and on the labelling of products using geographical indications as ingredients.
The Quality Package is supposed to be the first step in the overhaul of agricultural product quality policy. It is the result of three years of extensive consultation and participation of stakeholders. It is supposed to open the way to a more coherent agricultural product quality policy.
The Commission also announced its intention to study further the problems faced by small-scale producers in participating in EU quality schemes as well as by mountain producers to market their products.
Source: European Commission