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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » January 27, 2011
Polska... tastes good!
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Quality Labels for Food Producers
January 27, 2011   
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More than 100 products received Try Fine Food quality labels in December under a program run by the Agriculture Ministry since 2004. The program aims to provide consumers 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 Try Fine Food label is granted to products with a well-established position on the market, 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.

The label is granted to products that meet the strictest criteria, worked out by a 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 Try Fine Food label to the agriculture minister after a decision by the Chief Agricultural and Food Quality Inspector.

This time, the judges rating the quality of products entered for the competition granted the label to 118 products in seven categories: milk and dairy products, meat and meat products, deep-frozen food, fruit and vegetable preserves, confectionery products and cakes, chocolate products, honey and alcoholic beverages.

“The taste and quality of Polish food does not need recommendation because everyone knows about it well,” Marek Sawicki, the agriculture minister, said in December at the awards ceremony in Warsaw’s Hilton Hotel. The event was attended by central and local government officials, European Union deputies, Polish parliamentarians, members of the diplomatic corps and Polish food producers.

“The event is a time of celebration for Polish agri-food producers. The industry generates more than 12 percent of Poland’s exports,” Sawicki said. “It is the only major sector of the Polish economy where we have a trade surplus—more than 2 billion euros last year.”

Dariusz Młotkiewicz, secretary of state at the Polish President’s Office, read a letter from President Bronisław Komorowski to participants in the event. Congratulating the winners on behalf of Komorowski, Młotkiewicz said the Try Fine Food Program is a valuable program because it promotes tasty and healthy food products among consumers and builds consumer confidence in Polish brands and producers. The program also encourages producers to invest in quality as it increases the products’ chances of being successful on the market. Additionally, the program helps strengthen the belief among consumers that Polish products are no worse than their Western European counterparts.

As the program is targeted mainly at consumers, the ministry says it tries to promote Polish quality products as widely as possible. Many people are working together on various promotional and information campaigns as part of the program. As a result, millions of consumers can learn about quality Polish products, officials say. At the awards ceremony, the agriculture ministry handed special awards to television journalist Małgorzata Puzio, restaurant owner Magda Gessler and chef Karol Okrasa for the promotion of Polish food products.

In 2010, Try Fine Food labels went to 14 dairy companies for a total of 50 or so products, 10 meat-processing companies for cold cuts and other meat products. Award-winning companies also included three producers of deep-frozen food, three fruit and vegetable processing firms, three bakeries, one honey producer and one producer of alcoholic beverages.

Among the producers who received the largest number of labels for their products in 2010 is the Lazur dairy cooperative in Skalmierzyce, a dairy cooperative in Siedlce and a dairy cooperative in Czarnków. In the meat products category, the labels were granted to products made by a meat-processing plant in Władysławów, the Mo¶cibrody meat plant, and the Roldrob plant in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. The Hortino fruit-processing company in Leżajsk, Urbanek in Łowicz and Asprod in Kliniska Wielkie each received several labels for their products.

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 products from over 100 producers have won the label since the program was launched in 2004.
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