Of the more than 1,000 Romanian products certified by now as traditional, the beverages are the only ones protected in the European Union. The producers of the Plescoi sausages, of the "cowskin" cheese, of the Vulturesti pressed cheese and of many other similar products should ask for the EU protection until the beginning of 2008. They should get this right in 2009.
The Romanian traditional food products are protected only in Romania at the time being. If they want to sell them on the European market, the producers have to ask for the EU protection as well. However, they must wait a little. "The European Union Rules regarding the protection of the traditional products is to be enacted by May this year. In 2008, the Romanian producers will be able to start the proceedings for the protection, because there is a one-year-long transition period", Tudorel Balta, superior adviser in the Ministry of Agriculture, stated.
What will these producers have to do in order to protect their sausages, cheese, pies or bread? First of all, they can ask for the protection of the geographical denotements and original names of the agricultural and food products, as well as of the "guaranteed traditional specialties". The proceedings are similar.
For starters, the products for which the EU protection is asked has to be certified as a traditional product in Romania. In the same time, the demand has to come from more than one producer. There have to be at least two producers interested in the same product, as Tudorel Balta explained. They have to make the conditions of contract, which is actually a file with the name of the product, including the origin name or the geographic denotement, its description, the raw materials and the main physical, chemical, microbiological or organoleptical characteristics.
The file also has to contain information about the assignation of the geographic region, proof of the fact that the product comes from this perimeter, a description of the manufacture procedure and, where needed, the local, authentic and invariable methods as well as any specific labeling rule. In the same time, there have to be information to justify the connections between the quality or characteristics of the product and the geographic environment or the connection between a defined quality, reputation or any other characteristic of it and the geographic region. Moreover, the names and addresses of the authorities that verify the correlation between the conditions of contract and the actual development have to be present in this file.
When the file is ready, the group of producers can apply for the product to be registered at the Ministry of Agriculture. The request has to have the name and the address of the respective group and a unique document with the main elements in the file and the description of the connection between the product and the geographic environment. The Ministry will check the files and will start a national procedure to guarantee the corresponding publicity of the request and declares a reasonable period in which a person or a legal body can bring objections regarding the request. If they donât appear or if they are overruled, the Ministry of Agriculture approves the application and sends the name and the address of the group to the European Commission together with the unique document mentioned above and a statement of the state to certify that the request abides by all the EU regulations.
The Commission has 12 months to examine the application. If everything is alright, the unique document is published in the EU Official Journal, and the conditions of contract are sent to the publishing house. However, it doesnât end here. Six months after the publishing in the EU Official Journal, any member state or third country can bring objections against the decision. If no such thing happens or if the objections are overruled, the name requested by the group of producers is registered and published in the EU Official Journal.
Translated by SORIN BALAN