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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » December 30, 2010
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Guarantee of Quality
December 30, 2010   
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The Discover Great Food label guarantees that products are of consistently high quality and are made of ingredients whose origin has been verified, using processing methods that ensure both safety and excellent taste.

The Discover Great Food program, launched by the Agriculture Ministry in 2004, is one of almost 400 programs designed to promote quality food products in European Union countries. The programs are part of an EU policy to increase the quality and diversity of agri-food products on the single market.

The aim of the Discover Great Food program is to provide the consumer with reliable information stating that the products marked with the label meet stricter—additional or special—quality requirements, confirmed by independent bodies or organizations. The Discover Great Food label awarded to products taking part in the program proves that the products meet additional requirements in terms of the quality of raw materials used as well as production and processing methods. The label is awarded to products with a well-established market position, easily recognizable by consumers, produced and present on the market for at least a year, and with identification procedures in place across the food production chain, including a procedure that makes it possible to recall products that do not meet the requirements.

Products awarded this prestigious label have to meet numerous additional criteria, concerning for example additives, which should be kept to a minimum. The label can only be given to products with 2 percent or less salt content, except for dry meats, fish products and some cheeses in which the content of salt may be higher because of production process requirements. The use of bulking agents must also be kept to a minimum and the addition of mechanically deboned meat is not allowed, unless this is technically necessary. The label is awarded to products which stand out in terms of quality, ingredients, microbiological features, nutritional value as well as processing and preserving methods. At the same time, the products have to meet health and hygiene requirements, including those regarding animals and plants, defined by separate regulations.

Discover Great Food labels may be awarded to an unlimited number of producers operating on the EU market, irrespective of their size and form of ownership. The label helps consumers make informed decisions when choosing food products and increases their confidence in mass-produced products with consistently high quality. It is an incentive for producers to make good, healthy products and an instrument encouraging entrepreneurs to monitor and increase the quality of food products. It also supports sales of good Polish products in Poland and abroad.

The label is awarded to products that meet the strictest criteria, worked out by the Scientific Council on food quality at the Agriculture Ministry. The council is made up of outstanding professors and other researchers who are experts in nutrition, crop and animal farming, and law. They recommend products for the Discover Great Food label to the agriculture minister after a decision by the Chief Inspector for the Commercial Quality of Agri-Food Products.

The label is granted in more than 10 product categories such as meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, fish and fish products, eggs and egg products, honey, edible fats, cereal, leguminous and root plant products, fruit, vegetables, mushrooms and products made from them, confectionery products, cakes, herbs and spices, alcoholic beverages, mineral water and non-alcoholic beverages.

The label is granted for no longer than three years so as to ensure very high product quality and guaranteed provenance of ingredients.

More than 1,000 Polish products made by over 100 producers have been awarded the label since the program was launched. At present, the label is held by 461 products made by 66 firms.

Dairy products—including yogurt, buttermilk, cheese and cream—make up the largest group of products which have the right to use the Discover Great Food label while milk-processing plants are the largest group of producers. Milk-processing cooperatives in the towns of Krasnystaw and Czarnków have record numbers of dairy products with the Discover Great Food label in their product lines—more than 25 each. Cold cuts are the second largest product group awarded the label. The leading producer is Sokołów SA, with more than 30 products with the label.

Among other producers with top quality products are Jawo, which has won more than 20 labels, mainly for its deep-frozen dumplings and noodles, ZPOW Dawtona, which has more than 20 labels for its vegetable products, FPH Paula, which has more than 10 labels for its dried fruit products, Mokate Group, with over 10 labels for its fruit teas and coffees, and the Nasz Sad cooperative of fruit producers with more than 10 labels for different apple varieties.
A.R.
For more information about the program go to www.minrol.gov.pl
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