Around a fifth of products sold in Romania under the traditional product label are either forged or do not meet the requirements needed for the issuing of the traditional product certificate, according to the local Consumer Protection Authority ANPC, quoted by Profit.ro.
The ANPC verified last year 38 tons of food products sold under the traditional label and found that 7.4 tons (19.5%) did not comply with legal requirements.
The number of small producers selling traditional food products has multiplied in recent years, as these products are popular with urban consumers in search of healthier options. They often retail at seasonal fairs taking place in large cities. Products made in the areas of Sibiu or Bucovina are some of the most sought after.
According to the legislation, a product is considered traditional if it is made locally, using local ingredients and no additives, and following a traditional recipe or production and processing method. At the same time, the product needs to differentiate itself from similar products belonging to the same category.
The Consumer Protection Authority verified 240 firms, and found deficiencies at 122 of them. Following the controls, it temporarily stopped from being retailed 6,912 kg of food products worth RON 68,257 (EUR 15,168). It also completely stopped the sale of 16 kg of products worth RON 387 (EUR 86), which had exceeded their expiration date.
Following the controls, the ANPC levied fines and warnings worth RON 307,800 (EUR 68,400). The control body found that some of the products sold under the traditional label had been manufactured at standards different than the ones stipulated by the current legislation, lacked the logo certifying it as traditional or the proof that it was traditional, or had not been registered with the Agriculture Ministry as being traditional.
The National Registry of Traditional Products encompasses 571 products, out of which 57 were registered in 2016. In 2015, the Agriculture Ministry granted 204 traditional products certifications.