The Ministry of Agriculture has prepared detailed rules on the labelling of agri-food products with the term and graphic mark “Product of Poland” (“Produkt polski”).
Currently, the indication of the country of origin of the food is regulated at the EU level by Regulation No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. According to this regulation, information on the country of origin is in principle mandatory only where failure to indicate this might mislead consumers as to the true country of origin of the product.
In the meantime, according to research by the European Consumer Organisation BEUC, almost 70% of Polish consumers consider a product’s origin a significant factor when making a purchase of food products.
According to the bill, labelling a product with the term or graphic mark “Product of Poland (“Produkt polski”) will be allowed, on a voluntary basis, provided that the product was manufactured in Poland and the primary production of all its ingredients took place in Poland. As an exception, the total weight of ingredients that do not satisfy the above requirement may constitute only 25% of the total weight of the product’s ingredients. This exception will also apply if a particular ingredient cannot be replaced by the same ingredient of Polish origin.
Once the bill comes into force (which is expected on 1 January 2017), producers will be entitled to use the term or graphic mark “Product of Poland (“Produkt polski”) only on those products, which meet the requirements set by the new regulation. However, the new act does not introduce an obligation to use such marking.
What is important, according to the new provisions the graphic mark will have to be in the form specified in the regulation of the Minister of Agriculture, while to date producers have had some flexibility in the use of graphics indicating the Polish origin of their products. Food products which are already labelled with a graphic mark that is inconsistent with the new provisions may remain on the market until 31 December 2017.