EU logos aim to ensure food quality

The European Union participated in the 39th International Food and Beverage Exhibition, known as Foodex Japan, at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture, from March 4 to 7. The European contingent was there to introduce and promote a variety of high-quality European food and beverage products carrying special quality assurance logos under a plan to guarantee quality and origin.

With an exhibition pavilion hosting about 20 European producers and producer associations from all over Europe, a variety of products bearing these logos, including organic products, from all over Europe were represented.

Over the four days of Foodex, food and beverage professionals had the opportunity to meet European producers and secure business deals.

There are several benefits for those who import European products with the quality assurance logos. For instance, buyers can be assured that the product is of genuine quality and produced according to rigorous specifications. The Japanese visitors were able to learn about these benefits and the policy behind the four logos during presentations, which were held daily at the EU Pavilion.

The EU presence at the expo is part of the “Tastes of Europe — Quality guaranteed” campaign that was launched during the visit of European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Ciolos, to Japan in November last year.

Designed to educate the Japanese public about the four logos, the campaign aims to stimulate interest among Japanese food professionals and consumers toward high-quality European products that bear these logos.

The logos make it easy for customers to know about the product they are looking at and are clearly displayed on product packaging. Buyers can quickly know about where the product was produced and whether or not it is organic among other things.

There are three quality assurance logos: Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) to encourage diverse agricultural production, protect product names from misuse and imitation and help consumers by giving them information concerning the specific character of the products.

Another is the Organic Farming logo and it looks to have the organic sector progress in the line with production and market developments, thus improving and reinforcing EU organic farming standards and import and inspection requirements. (See the gray box for detailed information on the four logos.)

Some of the foods shown included PDO Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, the famous Italian cheese; TSG jamón Serrano from Spain; various PDO extra virgin olive oils from Italy, Spain and Greece; and a wide range of PDO and PGI wines from Portugal, Spain, Italy, Romania and Germany. Visitors also tasted some lesser known products, including PGI pumpkin seed oil from Slovenia.

Cooking demonstrations were also provided to visitors along with ideas on how to prepare European foods or Japanese-style dishes using high-quality European ingredients.

At the same time, as part of the campaign, producers of European delicacies such as wine, cheese, ham and olive oil also presented their signature products at select Seijo Ishii Co. supermarkets in and around Tokyo, giving regular Japanese consumers the opportunity to know about and taste the products.

Foodex is Asia’s largest food and beverage trade show, and this year attracted 2,808 exhibitors — including food and beverage companies and trading companies — from 78 countries and regions around the world, exhibiting their products. According to the organizer, 75,766 buyers, which included food service companies, distributors, wholesalers and online retailers from across Japan as well as from overseas, visited at the exhibition.

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This article is sourced by the EU News offered by the Delegation of the European Union to Japan, and the Foodex Japan Secretariat.