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Traditional specialities guaranteed

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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).

ACT

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

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial 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.

Last updated: 05.07.2011

See also

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