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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Protected products examined by Trade Inspection Authority

< previous | next > 07.12.2018

Protected products examined by Trade Inspection Authority
  • The Trade Inspection Authority has controlled registered products, such as “szynka szwarcwaldzka” (ham), “ser koryciński” (cheese) and “kiełbasa lisiecka” (sausage).
  • The inspectors checked 272 batches of products, with reservations concerning 14% of them.
  • The irregularities were related both to the ingredients and marking of the products.

The so-called protected products may sometimes be found on shop shelves as well. They are produced with the use of traditional methods, in specific geographical areas, and are registered by the European Commission. Currently, there are 42 registered products originating from Poland. The following designation categories are distinguished:

PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) – products made entirely in a given region or at a specific location. Their name is protected and cannot be used to describe foods made elsewhere or based on different recipes. Such products owe their quality and characteristic features to the natural conditions and the cultural environment of a given region. Examples include the following: oscypek (smoked cheese), jagnięcina podhalańska (lamb), wi¶nia nadwi¶lańska (cherry) and fasola “Piękny ja¶” (beans).

PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) – all stages of the production process must take place in a clearly defined area. Kiełbasa lisiecka (sausage) may serve as a good example here – it is made in the municipalities of Liszki and Czernichów, but the meat may be sourced from other regions. Rogal ¶więtomarciński (croissant) is registered as a product with Protected Geographical Indication as well.

TSG (Traditional Specialty Guaranteed) – products protected due to their traditional manufacturing methods, ingredients or due to the use of traditional raw materials. They may be made anywhere in the country that files the registration application. Polish examples of such products include “olej rydzowy” (gold-of-flux oil) and “kiełbasa jałowcowa staropolska” (sausage).

Audit by Trade Inspection Authority

The Trade Inspection Authority has verified products with protected designations. The audit covered 81 locations throughout the country, with the majority of them belonging to specific retail chains. The inspectors verified the quality of foodstuffs, their ingredients, markings, and paid attention to the way they were displayed in shops. Irregularities have been identified in the case of 38 out of 272 batches examined. Reservations concerning ingredients were most frequent in the case of meat products. They related, inter alia, to salt, fat or sugar content that was higher than declared. The salt content of “szynka szwarcwaldzka” (ham) (PGI), or “kiełbaski norymberskie” (steamed sausage) for frying and barbecuing, for instance, was higher than declared. “Ser koryciński” (cheese) with black seed contained 51.2% of water, although the registration application stated that water content should not exceed 48%.

Further reservations were related to product markings. In most cases the nutritional value information was missing or was presented improperly - in a foreign language, in an unclear manner or in violation of applicable regulations. Discrepancies were also identified between information stated on the manufacturer’s label and on the label added by the retailer’s personnel – for instance in the case of “ser koryciński” (cheese), the fat contents stated on the manufacturer’s label was lower than that on the retailer’s label, and fibre content was not included on the retailer’s label at all, although relevant information was provided on the manufacturer’s label. The markings of two product batches were not in compliance with the specification contained in the registration application - traditionally smoked “szynka szwarcwaldzka” (ham), for instance, contained smoking aroma, although the name implies that the traditional smoking method is used in its production.

In three cases consumers could be misled by an improper way in which the goods were displayed in the shops, and by the use of names that resembled those of protected products. For instance a product labelled as “LISIECKA DROBIOWA KG” was placed in a cooling cabinet, right next to “kiełbasa lisiecka” that is a protected product.

As a result of the audit, the Trade Inspection Authority submitted one report to the sanitary supervision authorities, and four reports to voivodeship inspectorates responsible for the quality of agricultural products and foodstuffs. Administrative proceedings against eight economic operators were initiated as well, as they were marketing foodstuffs that failed to meet quality levels set forth in applicable regulations concerning trade quality or quality declared by the producer on the packaging. Such a scenario involved the retailer that was selling “ser koryciński” whose salt content was too low, water content was too high and whose label was incorrect as well. The same applied to a retailer offering sheep cheese, due to irregularities concerning marking. Four proceedings have led to the imposition of penalties, with fines being waived in four other cases.

Do you have any doubts concerning the products you have purchased? Report them to your local voivodeship branch of the Trade Inspection Authority.

Consumer support:

Phone: +48 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Branches of the Consumer Federation
Consumer ombudsmen – in your town or district

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warsaw
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