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A mountain food label for Europe? Discover the new article published on the Journal of Alpine Research

Under the title of “A mountain food label for Europe? The role of food labelling and certification in delivering sustainable development in European mountain regions” the Journal of Alpine Research has published an article on the mountain food products label issue, written by Rob McMorran, Fabien Santini, Fatmir Guri, Sergio Gomez-y-Paloma, Martin Price, Olivier Beucherie, Christine Monticelli, Alexia Rouby, Delphine Vitrolles and Guillaume Cloye.

This article was written after the publication of the Regulation (EU) n° 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, but before the publication of the Commission delegated regulation (EU) No 665/2014 with regard to conditions of use of the optional quality term ‘mountain product’.

 This article “explores the roles of agriculture, food production and food marketing in the sustainable development of Europe’s mountain regions and evidences the disproportionate importance of agricultural and food production in these regions, in terms of socio-economic factors, the delivery of ecosystem services, and sustainable development”. In addition, “it is followed by a review of the role of food labelling and certification in distinguishing mountain foods in the marketplace”.

 The main objectives of this article are: “to evaluate the current and future potential importance of existing national control and certification schemes for mountain foods; to assess the role of the European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) schemes in marketing mountain foods and to investigate producer perspectives on certification and labelling schemes and wider issues relevant to mountain foods”.

 The conclusion of this article remarks that “the EU reserved term and existing national mountain product schemes also lack an explicit guarantee of product quality, beyond territorial quality associations. Nevertheless, this work and other studies validate the creation of a reserved term for mountain products based on a requirement for clear definitions across the EU and the potential to support the provision of positive externalities, add value to mountain products, and control misuse of the mountain term. A mountain scheme or label alone is likely to be insufficient to deliver sustainable outcomes; however, as one element within a wider suite of tools aimed at embedding food and agriculture into regional development, including actor networks and diversified marketing, such schemes, where supported by adequate promotional efforts, offer considerable potential to contribute to the resilience of mountain agriculture and food supply chains and contribute to wider goals of sustainable mountain development.”

 To read the whole article, please, click here.

21 May 2015

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