The decree specifying when a food product can be labelled “Hungarian” is now fit to pass the European Union test and will be unleashed on the market, the Ministry of Rural Development has announced. Minister Sándor Fazekas said the terms “Hungarian”, “Domestic” and “Domestically Processed” may be included on labels as of 1 September “on a voluntary basis”.
Fazekas referred to the ministerial decree regulating the categories of products, a draft of which had been sent to Brussels at the end of last year, requesting completion of the process. According to the ministry, “the European Union took exceptions to some points of the document” but the new regulations are now in compliance with EU laws.
According to the classification, a product can be labelled “Hungarian” only if it has been produced in Hungary using exclusively Hungarian ingredients. A “Domestic” product refers to food made out of at least 50 per cent Hungarian ingredients and whose processing took place in the country. The third category, “Domestically Processed” products, includes those which were processed in Hungary but made out of imported ingredients.
The ministry says the demand for Hungarian food “is increasing” but consumers find it hard to sort out which is a domestic product or not. The decree is the government’s response to that problem, and it aims to “provide better information” for the consumer to distinguish among the different labels and markings.
A compulsory trademark or logo to represent the categories is not specified by the ministry, although the office “encourages the use of civil trademarks that comply with regulations”. Already many producers have been playing the patriotic card, with milk cartons in the national colours and a line of meat products called “Because it’s Hungarian”.