Poland to bring in mandatory origin labelling for potatoes

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/PhanuwatNandee
© GettyImages/PhanuwatNandee

Related tags: Potatoes, Country of origin labelling, Poland

Poland has announced plans to bring in mandatory country of origin labelling for fresh potatoes.

The rules apply to fresh potatoes, sold loose or packed, but not processed potatoes.

Poland’s Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development notified the European Commission of its intention to bring in the rules last week.

The draft law reads: “The interest of domestic consumers to receive information on the country of origin of food is huge and the proposed provisions of the regulation aim to include it.​ 

“The obligatory indication of potatoes’ country of origin at the point of sale meets the expectations of those consumers, who base their choice on the quality features of potatoes originating from different countries with varying climatic and soil conditions, farming techniques, crop storage technology, etc."

According to the text of the draft law, consumers are "confused​" by current EU labelling provisions that require obligatory country of origin labelling for certain categories of fresh fruit and vegetables but not potatoes.

The law also cites the results of a study by the National Research Institute’s Plant Breeding and Acclimatisation Institute. The study found that Poland has specific production conditions that mean “the quality characteristics of potato tubers has been scientifically proven", ​the text reads, which "makes Polish potatoes distinguishable from ware potatoes produced in other EU countries”.

To make the origin information as clear as possible, the regulation proposes that manufacturers and retailers present it with both text and an image in the form of the country’s flag.

This “[embraces] the current preference for visual information over written text”.

As the consultation is still ongoing, a spokesperson for the Commission said it could not comment or express its views on the draft legislation.

The obligation does not cover packed potatoes coming from EU member states or Turkey, or marketed in a member state of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) being a party to the European Agreement on the Area of Economic.

In June this year, the deputy agriculture minister Jacek Bogucki said the ministry was drafting regulations on origin labelling for vegetables and a legal definition of young potatoes. 

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