Application for the Jamón Serrano TSG seal was originally made at the repeated request of a large majority of businesses in the sector with the aim of protecting, standardizing and improving the image of Jamón Serrano (Serrano Ham).
Registering Jamón Serrano (Serrano Ham) as a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) product has made it possible to address a series of aspects that are essential to the future of the sector:
HOW AND WHERE?
Having ruled out the possibility of registering a "Jamón Serrano" trademark in view of its generic nature, the only other alternative was to use one of the existing systems for protecting and adding value to a product included in Community legislation.
Such systems are included in Regulations 2081/92 and 2082/92. The first of these refers to designations linked to a territory or a region during at least one stage of production. These are the Protected Designations of Origin and Geographical Indications.
These second of these Regulations permits the registration and certification of foods with specific characteristics derived from their composition or from their traditional method of production. These are known as Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG).
Of these, the only possible option for Jamón Serrano is the one permitted under Regulation 509/2006, i.e., obtaining registration as a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG).
Regulation 509/2006 establishes the application and registration procedure for a TSG. The application must in all cases be made by an association of producers (in this case, manufacturers) who must submit a specifications sheet containing at least the following:
Once prepared, the specifications sheet must be submitted by the association to the pertinent authority of the Member State in which the association is based.
This authority will in turn send the application to the European Commission, which sends it to the other Member States. The principal elements of the application are then published in the Official Journal.
A period is then opened from the date of the publication for other parties to file opposition to the application. If no opposition is forthcoming, or if any oppositions filed are dismissed or rejected, the European Commission will then proceed to register the product and publish the results in the Official Journal.
OBTAINING THE REGISTRATION
The awarding of the Traditional Specialty Guaranteed seal for Jamón Serrano means that this product has been legally recognised as an exceptional contribution by Spain to the gastronomic culture of the European Union, and that due to its special characteristics and intrinsic quality, it has earned the highest distinction and protection that community legislation can afford it - the Traditional Specialty Guaranteed seal.
After obtaining the registration, only manufacturers who respect the product specifications sheet and have been certified by a control body may use the registered designation "Jamón Serrano" and the Community symbol.
Regulation 509/2006 establishes the obligation to set up a control system to guarantee that all products bearing the registered name comply with the conditions established in the specifications sheet. The control system comprises one or more control bodies, all of whom must meet the requirements of standard UNE-EN 45011.
The control bodies are responsible for processing applications and awarding the certificate, if applicable, to all companies interested in manufacturing Jamón Serrano.
Companies that wish to manufacture Jamón Serrano are responsible for ensuring that they meet the requirements contained in the specifications sheet. They must therefore establish and maintain a quality assurance system to guarantee that these requirements are indeed met, using the appropriate controls and records.
The control bodies are responsible for auditing certified companies and verifying compliance with the specifications sheet.
THE NEXT STEP
Obtaining the Jamón Serrano TSG seal resolved all of the issues and concerns of the sector mentioned above. Now that this goal has been achieved, the Jamón Serrano TSG must make an effective contribution to refining the Ham sector by becoming a quality guarantee for the consumer, thereby adding value to all the products that bear this seal.
It is a well-known fact that a high percentage of consumers in the European Union place great value on products that are protected by a quality label, and are willing to pay more for them. If a high percentage of the 340 million consumers in the Single Market show this appreciation for specific products and associate them with added value, these Regulations will become an extremely valuable tool in the marketing and selling of the products they protect and a useful instrument for improving the competitive position of small and medium businesses.
It is significant to note, then, that this project is aimed specifically at small and medium businesses operating in this sector.