Quality is an important topic for every farmer and buyer, whether dealing with commodities produced in accordance to basic standards or with the high-end quality products in which Europe excels. EU farmers must build on high quality reputation to sustain competitiveness and profitability.
EU law lays down stringent requirements guaranteeing the standards of all European products. In addition, EU quality schemes identify products and foodstuffs farmed and produced following strict specifications. The main European quality schemes are:
- Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for
- agricultural farm products and foodstuffs
- PDO, PGI Logo
- Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) for
- Outermost regions: Products specific to Azores, Canary Islands, French Guyana, Guadeloupe, La Réunion, Madeira, and Martinique.
EU schemes operate in the market alongside an increasing number of public and private certification schemes.
In addition, the European marketing standards encourage EU farmers to produce products of given quality, in conformity with the consumers' expectations. They allow a comparison of prices between various qualities of the same product. They also ensure minimum quality for the consumer and facilitate the operation of the internal market and the international trade.
They replace the various national standards and are regulated by the "single CMO".
The Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs entered into force in the beginning of 2013.
It achieves a simplified regime for several quality schemes by putting them under one single legal instrument.
Furthermore, it creates a more robust framework for the protection and promotion of quality agricultural products and thus contributes to guaranteeing quality to consumers and a fair price for farmers.
The key elements of the new Regulation include:
- more coherence and clarity of the EU quality schemes,
- a reinforcement of the existing schemes for protected designations of origin and geographical indications (PDOs and PGIs),
- overhauling the traditional specialities guaranteed scheme (TSGs),
- a new framework for the development of optional quality terms to provide consumers with information about product characteristics, including a creation and protection of the optional quality term "mountain product",
- clarification of rules on controls and faster registration procedures .