The Department of agriculture has launched a plan for the modification of the quality standards of a dozen food products with the aim of strengthening the traceability, quality and control thereof in defense of consumers. The change also considers the benefit that greater information and transparency can bring to the industry itself in terms of sales, both in the domestic market and abroad.
These actions, says the secretary general of the department, Fernando Miranda, respond to the need to update the current regulations, which in many cases has been old due to advances in manufacturing processes derived from new technologies. The new regulations do not affect the nutritional labels, competition of the Spanish Agency for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety and Nutrition (AECOSAN).
Among the main products on which the changes are proposed, it is worth mentioning, first of all, the olive oil. The first jobs have already been developed with the responsible of the industry, the Association of Packers and Exporters, with the aim of improving traceability. The idea is that the consumer can know the whole process of its preparation while ensuring the quality and control of oils. The regulation will not contemplate changes in the current tasting panel system recognized by Spain and by the European Union, which is used to differentiate the quality between a virgin oil and an extra virgin. The Administration, the sector and the universities have been working for years without achieving a convincing new tasting model for all parties.
Another provision on which work has also begun is the one referring to bread, since the regulations in force date from 1984. The new regulation would affect aspects such as definitions of the sourdough and varieties of bread as integral, artisan or village . It will also include the requirement to inform the buyer when a bread has left the oven more than 24 hours before.
Appetizers, milk and honey
Along with these two productions, the revision of regulations would also affect other sectors such as those of canned goods -with a great weight of imports made in countries such as China Peru or Morocco-, cookies, for creams, broths or soups. And also in a wide range of products that qualify as appetizers where chips stand out.
Apart from the quality standard, the Agricultural Administration has the line of the origin requirement in the labeling of the products open within the framework of the community provisions where each Member State is left free. In that sense, the demands of the sector, to date, have only focused on milk and honey. In milk, the Government approved the obligation of labeling the origin by a royal decree last September and it will enter into force on the 24th after a period of four months given to the industries to release their stocks and have new containers For the milk produced and packed in Spain, it will suffice to point out Origin Spain. When the milking and packing country is different, it will be mandatory to indicate both. In the case of derived products with milk presence, the origin of the milk will be demanded when it supposes 50% of the weight of that product.
In honey, Agriculture has collected the demands of the producer sector in its draft royal decree and in that line, the new provision will require only put the country of origin of honey when all comes from a single country. If the content of a container is honey mixture several countries, will be required to indicate the percentage of honey from each.