Importantly, 'traditional' is defined as proven usage on the domestic market for a period of at least 30 years.
Specification and registering
Before an application for TSG registration can be made, a specification for the product must be compiled. This must comprise:
- The name to be protected
- A description of the product
- A description of the required production method including, where relevant, the nature of the ingredients to be used
- The key elements establishing the product's traditional character
An interested group of producers will apply for registration at Member State level. Once the product specification is agreed, national consultation takes place. Following this, if the Member State concludes that the application meets the requirements of the scheme, an application dossier is lodged with the Commission. Following Commission scrutiny, the application is then presented for EU-wide wide consultation and, following time-limited procedures, notice of the success or otherwise of the application is published in the Official Journal (OJ) of the EU.
Once a name is registered as a TSG, it may be used by any business marketing a product conforming to the specification and which has undergone the required verification of compliance inspection to demonstrate this. From 4 January 2016, products registered as TSGs must carry the TSG logo, which must appear in the same field of vision as the registered name. Until 3 January 2016, registered names must be accompanied either by the TSG logo or the words 'traditional speciality guaranteed'. Thereafter, the indication 'traditional specialities guaranteed' or the abbreviation 'TSG' may appear on the labelling in addition to the TSG logo.
Registered names must be protected against any misuse, imitation or evocation or any other practice likely to mislead the consumer. Member States must ensure that no names are used on their territories which could be confused with registered names.
Previous TSG legislation allowed registered names to continue to be used on products not complying with the specification as long as there was no TSG reference of any sort on the label. This provision no longer exists under the current legislation. However, TSGs registered without reservation of the name may continue to be used until 4 January 2023 - unless a group successfully applies in the meantime for the reservation to be removed. Such applications must go through the normal Member State application procedure and must be submitted to the Commission by 4 January 2016.