Tamara Penjić, president of the Serbian Meat Quality Label Association, said the label would “contribute to the strengthening of export potential and the opening of new markets”. Penjić, also executive director of MI Carnex, a leading Serbian meat manufacturer, said: “The label will provide certainty for consumers both domestic and demanding foreign markets to receive a quality Serbian product.”
She explained about how the new ‘Serbian quality’ or ‘Srpski Kvalitet’ label would work for meat brands. Only products made of raw materials that originate exclusively from the Republic of Serbia can use the label. They also have to be distinctive as regards their chemical composition, physical, microbiological and organoleptic properties, production mode, use of raw materials and/or components, from other agricultural and food products of the same category, she explained.
“From experience we know that consumers are interested in buying a product that has a clear mark of quality and geographical origin,” she added, welcoming the participation by the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) in developing the system. “The label will provide certainty for consumers both domestic and demanding foreign markets that they have received a quality Serbian product”, she added.
Her association carries out pre-screening, identifies the quality features of selected products and submits requests to the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection for products to be allowed to carry the label.
So far, eight Serbian meat products have obtained the label: Carnex’s homemade whole meat bacon (Domaća mesnata slanina), its pâté incorporating chopped meat (Selection pašteta sa komadićima mesa), a pâté with smoked bacon (Selection pašteta sa dimljenom slaninom), and cabbage rolls, which include meat (Domaća sarma); Meat Industry Topola’s Kulen sausage (Kulen), and Izletnicka sausage; and Zlatiborac’s royal salami (Rojal salama) and chicken salami (Pileća delikates salama). Penjić stressed these products would not become more expensive just because their packaging can carry the label.
Branislav Nedimović, Serbian Minister of Agriculture and Environmental Protection told GlobalMeatNews that this action was “a perfect example of public-private partnership between the manufacturers and the government, where we have a completely independent quality control”. He hoped that the initial eight products’ labels would encourage other manufacturers to suggest additional products for registration: “This system will be further developed, and the three companies, the leaders in meat processing in Serbia, are just the start,” said Nedimović.