Food Law News - UK - 2000

18 May 2000: LABELLING - Traditional Farmfresh Turkey: The First British Certificate of Specific Character

MAFF Press Release (168/00), 18 May 2000

Traditional Farmfresh Turkey: The First British Certificate of Specific Character

Traditional Farmfresh Turkey has become the first UK product to receive protected status under EU food law as a Certificate of Specific Character.

MAFF Minister of State Joyce Quin said:
"I am delighted that another of our excellent traditional foods will now benefit from EU-wide protection and I congratulate all those involved in achieving the UK's first registered Certificate of Specific Character designation. Registration is a guarantee to consumers that the product is authentic and unique. Research shows that across Europe consumers are becoming increasingly interested in where the food and drink they buy is coming from."

Traditional Farmfresh Turkey is produced and marketed by the Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association (TFTA) under the 'Golden Promise' brand.

TFTA chairman Tanya Copas said:
"We are very proud that our Golden Promise turkey is the first British product to receive this accolade, and I am delighted that the TFTA has received EU wide recognition for a traditional product, produced by artisan farmers and sold by small family butchers nationwide. It is increasingly difficult for small producers of niche market food products to compete in a market dominated by large producers. We are therefore delighted to have received protection for 'Traditional Farmfresh Turkey' at such a high level. This gives us confidence for the future."

Under EU regulations a named food or drink registered at European level will be given protection against imitation throughout the Community. The UK currently has 31 products registered under this scheme as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) (these include beers, cheeses, beef and lamb). However, 'Traditional Farmfresh Turkey' is the first UK product to receive protection as a Certificate of Specific Character (CSC).

The Certificates of Specific Character (CSC) designation is open to products which can demonstrate their traditional character and have a name which is traditional or customary. In particular, they may be based on a traditional recipe which, for example, has been practised for at least 25 years, or if abandoned, has been revived.

As a registered CSC, 'Traditional Farmfresh Turkey' is entitled to use the EU logo which research has shown can be a valuable aid to marketing.

The EU schemes cover most foods intended for human consumption including meat, dairy and fish products, fruits and vegetables, beer, beverages made from plant extracts, bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits and confectionery.

There are now 8 products with Certificate of Specific Character registration across the EU compared with over 500 products registered on the basis of a geographical link - Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). This reflects the fact that to date the efforts of Member States across the EU have focused on the latter scheme. However, changes to arrangements for processing CSC applications are being made and both the UK and the European Commission are keen to encourage more CSC applications. As a result of the Ministry's ongoing "Safeguarding Britain's Food Heritage" campaign a number of CSC applications covering beer and meat are in the pipeline. The Ministry is proactive at the major food and agricultural events in welcoming more applications of this nature so that proper recognition can be given to the range and diversity of UK traditional food and drink products.

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