There are very few people who are not familiar with the “story” about how the Slovenians stole the rights to claim the Serbian ajvar (red pepper relish) as their own. Unfortunately, ajvar cannot be protected as a product with a geographical origin as such, because the term is generic. However, a certain brand of ajvar that comes from a specific geographical area can. Thankfully, people from Leskovac have already done that.
Despite a certain brand of ajvar now being protected as an original Serbian product, this is only one of the three products that our country has managed to register as its own, i.e. having a Serbian origin. The other two are the sweet dessert wine called Bermet from Sremski Karlovci, and the honey from the Fruska Gora Mountain. Required studies have been done for over 50 other typically Serbian products but rarely any producer knows this.
“In case of the products like ajvar, it is its geographical origin that guarantees high quality”, says Stevica Markovic from the Leskovac Ajvar Association which has geographically protected this product.
“In order for a product’s geographical origin to be protected, there has to be a study in place and certain analyses carried out. This costs money, so the products with the protected geographical origin usually bear a higher retail price”, Markovic says and adds: “On the other hand, when a consumer buys such product, they can be assured of its quality because these products contain no additives, preservatives or artificial colours. They are submitted to strict control by the relevant certification companies”.
In Croatia, for instance, even the biggest food producers have products with the protected geographical origin, while in Italy, there are over 1,000 food products with the protected geographical origin. There is a very good reason why the Italians are so adamant on this practice – the consumers from wealthier markets are more prone to buying high quality natural products that bear the sign of the protected geographical origin.
(Vecernje Novosti, 01.10.2017)
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