Do real Neapolitan pizzas have anchovies? Is serrano ham all cured pork ham?
In order to know the answer, intellectual property law includes a concept which regulates and protects foodstuffs (or agricultural products for human consumption) prepared with a traditional production method, thus guaranteeing their composition and preparation.
The aim is to protect the countryside by favoring the distinction from other similar products and boosting the economy of depressed and/or isolated regions and populations.
For a product to be recognized by the European Commission as a “traditional specialty guaranteed” (TSG), it must meet two key requirements: it is produced using traditional raw materials and it has a traditional composition and/or traditional method of production/processing.
A specialty cannot be due to its geographical origin, as it would therefore use a protected designation or geographical indication.
In addition, the name to be registered must be specific, not generic or fully descriptive products, and shall contain the specific characteristics of the agricultural product or foodstuff.
The registration procedure, which may only be initiated by groups of producers, is carried out over two stages: firstly with national authorities and subsequently with the European Commission if the applicant belongs to an European Union country. If the application comes from a group in a third country, the application goes directly to the Commission.
If there is no objection, or this is not admissible, the name will be registered, thus giving the producers which comply with the product specification the right to label, advertise or refer to their product as TSG and also to use the Community symbol (the form of which is the same as the protected designation of origin or geographical indication).
The registered names will be protected against any act which may mislead consumers, leading them to believe that a specific product is a TSG.
In Spain, there are currently four traditional specialties guaranteed, which are: jamón serrano (dry-cured ham), panellets (marzipan petit-fours), leche de granja certificada (milk from pure-bred farm cattle) and torta de aceite (olive oil biscuit).