policy and rural development
Community system for the protection
of food products
whose typical characteristic is related to a traditional
method of production
"Regulation no. 2082/92 of 14
July 1992 on certificates of specific character for agricultural products and
Regulation no. 2082/92 of
14/7/1992 on certificates of specific character for agricultural products and
foodstuffs amended by R 1848/93, R 2515/94 and R 2182/98 establishing the application
procedures of the preceding regulation.
Decision no. 53/93 of 21/12/1992
on the establishment of a scientific committee for designations of origin, geographical
indications and certificates of specific character, amended by Decision 437/94
du 14/6/94, which provides additional details on the committee's operations.
- Encourage the diversification
of agricultural production by developing certain specific products in a context
of rural development.
- Establish for this purpose rules on obtaining
a Community certificate of specific character for agricultural products and foodstuffs.
Definition and conditions of registration
regulation is limited to agricultural products and certain foodstuffs. It does
not apply to products of the winemaking sector or to beverages and spirits.
certificate of specific character" is understood to mean the Community
recognition of specific characteristics of a foodstuff, which makes it clearly
different from similar food of the same category.
The food whose specific
character has been recognised is entered in a register kept by the European Commission.
be included in this register, the food must have specific characteristics resulting
from the raw materials used to make it or resulting from the conditions in which
it was produced but not resulting from the food's geographical origin or its specific
technological nature. The food therefore must not only satisfy standards or regulations
established for a category of products.
The regulation stipulates that the
food must also have a traditional character to receive the certificate of specific
character. This means that the product must:
- be made with traditional
- have a traditional composition,
- be produced and/or
processed in a traditional manner.
It should be noted that the
regulation on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin
(see factsheet L.1.3.2) precedes the regulation on certificates of specific character:
when a product is different from other products because of qualities related to
its origin, its name must be registered as "PGI" (protected geographical
indication) or "PDO" (protected designation of origin).
The registration application
may only be filed by a group of producers with a list of specifications of the
food. The specifications must include: the selling name, the production rules,
a description of the food and its main characteristics, the elements that can
be used to evaluate the traditional character, and the requirements and procedures
of inspection of the specific character.
The application must be filed with
the relevant authority of the Member State who, after checking that the necessary
requirements have been fulfilled, forwards the application to the Commission.
The Commission sends it to the other Member States within a period of six
months and publishes the application in the Official Journal of the European Communities.
Within a period of five months, any natural or legal person concerned may object
to the registration by contacting the relevant national authorities. If no objection
is made within six months, the Commission enters the product in the register and
publishes the decision in the Official Journal. If there is an objection, the
Commission asks the Member States concerned to arrive at an agreement themselves.
If no agreement is reached, the Commission, with the help of an advisory committee,
makes a decision. This procedure may also be used if a group of producers wants
to change its list of specifications.
After publication in the Official
Journal of the European Communities, the selling name, which refers to the specific
character, is reserved for the food indicated in the list of specifications.
words "guaranteed traditional specific character" and a Community symbol
(logo) may be included on the label, on the packaging and in advertising of the
registered food. To protect the established rights, these specific names may coexist
with those already reserved by national provisions or with names based on custom.|
The Member States must set up a rigorous system of inspection to ensure that the
food complies with the list of specifications.
A country outside the European
Union may, at the request of its producers, apply for the Community certificate
of specific character for food with guarantees equivalent to those established
by the present regulation. The Commission is empowered to open negotiations with
a view to signing international agreements.
The Member States must take
whatever measures are necessary to legally protect the food against any misuse
or imitation of the selling names registered. The registered names are protected
against any practices constituting acts of unfair competition.
committee composed of representatives of the Member States assists the Commission
in its task.
of specific quality".
"Green Europe" Collection. 1/96.
European Commission, Directorate-General for Information, Communication, Culture,
Audiovisual Policy, Unit A4 "Relays and Information Networks", Rue de
la Loi 200, B-1049 Brussels.
COM(99)347 final (not published in the Official
This report was adopted by the Commission on 19 July 1999 on
the basis of Article 21 of Regulation (EEC)
no. 2082/92. It analyses two aspects
- the application of the procedure of objection when
registering names and its weak points, ie. the time limit for the amicable procedure
and the lack of a definition of the grounds for objection;
- the application
of the different levels of protection granted by the said regulation.
Additional sources of information
DG AGRI AII.3
200 rue de la Loi
2 295 68 46
Fax: +32 2 296 12 71