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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » February 23, 2012
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Top-Quality Food
February 23, 2012   
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Poland’s first national system for rewarding and regulating the production of traditional food of the highest quality is called Jako뜻 Tradycja (Quality Tradition).

Designed by the Polish Chamber of Regional and Local Products, a trade organization of producers, together with the Union of the Provinces of the Republic of Poland, the Jako뜻 Tradycja system was approved in June 2007 by the agriculture and rural development minister as a national quality system and accepted as such by the European Commission.

The system’s aim is to reward high-quality foods, including traditional products. Its recognition as a national food quality system enables its beneficiaries to take advantage of mechanisms supporting participation in the system and promotion of regional and traditional products along similar lines to those available for products registered in the EU quality system for regional and traditional products.

The primary focus of the Jako뜻 Tradycja system is to reward the quality of food products. The system only accepts products whose high quality is the effect of their traditional character and whose special quality, reputation or other features distinguish them from other products from the same category. Ingredients, production methods and a product’s character are considered traditional if the product has a history of at least 50 years (two generations). Traditional breeds and varieties are those that were in use before 1956.

A producer aspiring to recognition as part of the system declares they will maintain higher production standards or their products’ unique qualities.

Before being allowed into the system a product is subject to detailed inspection according to the regulations for awarding the Jako뜻 Tradycja mark. This mark is registered at the Patent Office and protected under the law on industrial property as a joint guarantee trademark.

A product for which the producer is applying for the Jako뜻 Tradycja mark must be of high quality, as confirmed by supervision over production and proper quality control, and identifiable (traceable) at every stage of production. Producers must have a certificate of conformity to prove that the product is made according to specification.

Producers using the Jako뜻 Tradycja mark of quality who are in the Food Quality System should make their products subject to inspection, the aim being to guarantee that the production method is the same as that specified in the application. The choice of inspecting unit is up to the producers themselves. This kind of inspection should not be confused with official inspections to guarantee food safety that are conducted by veterinary or sanitary services.

The system is an open one, meaning it can be joined by all farmers, agricultural producers and processing businesses from Poland and other countries, members of the chamber and non-members. The sole criterion for a product to be accepted is its quality. Participation in the food quality endorsement system is completely voluntary.

Under the system’s rules, products that receive the Jako뜻 Tradycja mark have to meet stringent requirements. The ingredients used in production have to come from organic farms or farms that follow best agricultural and best breeding practices without any use of GMOs. The ingredients also have to be fully identifiable (traceability).

An application for the Jako뜻 Tradycja mark is similar to applications for EU labels, and its added role is to prepare domestic producers for applying for EU labels by going through the procedure to obtain the Jako뜻 Tradycja mark. The system is intended for individual businesses or producers. The fact that a specific product and its producer is granted the mark does not prevent other producers from obtaining the Jako뜻 Tradycja mark for a similar or identical product.

So far the mark has been granted to 39 products from different regions around Poland. They include several varieties of butter and cheese from the Regional Dairy Cooperative in Olecko, the Regional Dairy Cooperative in Susz, the Rospuda Dairy Cooperative in Filipw, the Dairy Cooperative in Gosty, the Jana Dairy Cooperative in 쫞oda, the Top-Tomy턫 Dairy Cooperative in Nowy Tomy턫, the Commune Dairy in Pierzchnica, the Jdrzejowska Dairy Cooperative in Wodzis쿪w, and the Regional Dairy Cooperative in Chmielnik.

Another large group of products that have received this mark of quality are processed meat goods (including various types of sausage, ham, terrine, head cheese, bacon, liverwurst) from the Agricultural Production Cooperative in Kruszewnia and the Smak-Grno Meat Processing Plant. Several products from Firma Bracia Urbanek have received the mark as well: dill pickle puree, whole dill pickles, gherkins, beet horseradish sauce, and plum jam. The Ciechan Brewery is another beneficiary of the system; it makes several brands of beer that have the right to use the mark.
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