Regulation 1151/2012, expected for so long by representatives from mountains of Europe (and the world!) had been officially published on December 14th 2012 and entered into force on 3rd January 2013.
Its article 31 introduces the optional quality term “mountain product” and recognises officially the specificity of these mountains and the necessity of specific labelling. Here is the full wording:
1. The term ‘mountain product’ is established as an optional quality term.
This term shall only be used to describe products intended for human consumption listed in Annex I to the Treaty in respect of which:
(a) both the raw materials and the feedstuffs for farm animals come essentially from mountain areas;
(b) in the case of processed products, the processing also takes place in mountain areas.
2. For the purposes of this Article, mountain areas within the Union are those delimited pursuant to Article 18(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999. For third-country products, mountain areas include areas officially designated as mountain areas by the third country or that meet criteria equivalent to those set out in Article 18(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999.
3. In duly justified cases and in order to take into account natural constraints affecting agricultural production in mountain areas, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 56, laying down derogations from the conditions of use referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article. In particular, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt a delegated act laying down the conditions under which raw materials or feedstuffs are permitted to come from outside the mountain areas, the conditions under which the processing of products is permitted to take place outside of the mountain areas in a geographical area to be defined, and the definition of that geographical area.
4. In order to take into account natural constraints affecting agricultural production in mountain areas, the Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts, in accordance with Article 56, concerning the establishment of the methods of production, and other criteria relevant for the application of the optional quality term established in paragraph 1 of this Article.”
The European Commission will work in the following months on preparing delegated acts foreseen by the article. We Euromontana have ensured DG AGRI that we will fully support them in this exercise. The Board of Directors has also started to discuss an action plan on mountain products for months ahead, in relation with the Charter, including sensibilisation of Member States, undertaking of complementary research and studies – which will start at the end of this month with a Masters thesis dedicated to this issue – and the potential recreation of a dedicated website.
Regulation can be downloaded here in all European languages (to access all versions, click on the dots “…”)