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Document 52003XC1231(03)

Publication of an application for registration pursuant to Article 6(2) of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin

OJ C 321, 31.12.2003, p. 39–42 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

52003XC1231(03)

Publication of an application for registration pursuant to Article 6(2) of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin

Official Journal C 321 , 31/12/2003 P. 0039 - 0042


Publication of an application for registration pursuant to Article 6(2) of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin

(2003/C 321/08)

This publication confers the right to object to the application pursuant to Articles 7 and 12d of the abovementioned Regulation. Any objection to this application must be submitted via the competent authority in a Member State, in a WTO member country or in a third country recognised in accordance with Article 12(3) within a time limit of six months from the date of this publication. The arguments for publication are set out below, in particular under 4.6, and are considered to justify the application within the meaning of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92.

COUNCIL REGULATION (EEC) No 2081/92

APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION: ARTICLE 5

PDO (x) PGI ( )

National application No: 4/2001

1. Responsible department in the Member State Name: Ministero delle Politiche agricole e forestali

Address: Via XX Settembre, 20 - I-00187 Roma

Tel. (39-06) 481 99 68

Fax (39-06) 42 01 31 26

E-mail: qualita@politicheagricole.it

2. Applicant group Name: Comitato Promotore richiesta riconoscimento Miele della Lunigiana DOP

Address: c/o Comunità Montana della Lunigiana, P.zza della Libertà - I-54013 Fivizzano (MS)

Composition: producers/processors (x) other ( ).

3. Type of product: Other products of animal origin - (Honey) Category 1.4.

4. Specification (summary of requirements under Article 4(2))

4.1. Name: "Miele della Lunigiana"

4.2. Description: The following types of honey:

acacia honey, produced on flowers of Robinia pseudoacacia L;

chestnut honey, produced on flowers of Castanea sativa M.

Acacia Miele della Lunigiana has the following characteristics:

- Organoleptic characteristics: remains clear and liquid for a long period. Towards the end of the marketing period, some crystallisation with a viscous consistency may occur, depending on the moisture content. The honey is of a very light, transient colour, ranging from almost colourless to straw coloured. It has a light, fruity, candied aroma, similar to that of the flowers, while the flavour is decidedly sweet, slightly acidic but not bitter. The taste is very delicate, typically of vanilla, with little persistence and no after-taste.

- Chemico-physical and microscopic characteristics: the moisture content is no more than 18 % while the hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content does not exceed 10 mg/kg when the honey is put in the pot.

- Melissopalinological characteristics: the honey sediment is generally low in pollen, with less than 20000 grains of acacia pollen per 10 g of honey.

Chestnut Miele della Lunigiana has the following characteristics:

- Organoleptic characteristics: remains liquid for a long period. Towards the end of the marketing period partial and irregular crystallisation may occur. The honey is dark in colour, often with reddish tones. It has a fairly strong, penetrating aroma. The flavour is persistent, with some degree of bitterness.

- Chemico-physical and microscopic characteristics: the moisture content is no more than 18 % while the hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content does not exceed 10 mg/kg when the honey is put in the pot.

- Melissopalinological characteristics: the honey sediment is rich in pollen, with more than 100000 grains of chestnut pollen per 10 g of honey.

4.3. Geographical area: Acacia and chestnut Miele della Lunigiana is produced, processed and packed in the Comunità Montana della Lunigiana, an area of around 97000 ha in the Province of Massa Carrara in the Region of Tuscany.

4.4. Proof of origin: The Lunigiana is a natural and historical area in Tuscany extending along the valley of the River Magra to its confluence with the Vara. It probably owes its name to the colony of Luni founded in 177 BC. The Valley was always an important communications route between peninsular Italy, the Po Valley and the countries beyond the Alps. The Roman consular road that ran from Pisa to Luni and Genoa and then on to Arles followed the route of a prehistoric way. The first certain indications of bee-keeping in Lunigiana are given by the Estimo generale (census) of 1508, which considered bee-keeping as a productive activity and imposed a tax on each hive kept. The census shows a total of 331 hives, mostly owned by rich families. Most families had more than one hive and the products obtained were used for various purposes: honey was used as a sweetener, as an ingredient in cakes and as a medicine while wax was used for making candles. The importance of bee-keeping is attested to by the statutes of the different communes and usi civici (local laws regulating activities on communal land), which lay down strict rules on the recovery of stray swarms, the location of hives and other aviary-management operations.

Legal documents from the XVIIIth century record court cases concerning the theft of hives.

Honey producers are entered on a register, held and kept up to date by the inspection body, and each year declare the number of hives they own and the volume of honey produced. Packing is carried out within the defined area by approved undertakings entered on a register. The inspection body verifies that the technical requirements laid down in the specification for entry on the registers are satisfied and that all those involved throughout the production chain fulfil their obligations in order to ensure the traceability of the product.

4.5. Method of production: Production hives may be "stationary", i.e. remain in the same place throughout the year, or "nomadic", i.e. may be moved within the defined area while the flowers concerned are in bloom. On harvesting, the frames must be totally empty. Hives used for production are managed as follows:

- the colonies must be kept in orderly hives, i.e. multiple-storey hives with moveable combs;

- the prophylactic and therapeutic measures necessary to prevent disease in the hives must be carried out;

- any artificial feeding must be suspended before the frames are inserted and must, in any case, only comprise sugar and water;

- the combs in the frames must be empty and clean when placed in the hive and must never have contained a brood; when the frames are inserted, a queen excluder or other instrument must be used to prevent eggs being laid in the frame;

- the frames must be withdrawn only after the bees have been removed using a method that preserves the quality of the product (for example, a bee escape or a bee blower); the use of repellents is prohibited.

The honey must be extracted and processed as follows:

- the honey must be extracted, processed and stored on premises within the production area;

- all the equipment used for extracting, processing and storing the honey must be made from materials designed for food use;

- the honey must be extracted using a centrifugal extractor; it must be filtered using a filter that allows the key constituents of the honey to pass through; after filtering, the honey must be placed in containers for decantation;

- where the honey must be heated for technical reasons (transfer, placing in pots, etc.), the heat treatment must be limited to the time necessary for the operation concerned and the temperature of the product must never exceed 40 °C.

The product must be packed within the area referred to in Article 3 of the specification. Packing within the defined geographical area, along with the other phases of production, is a traditional practice in the area and is justified in order to:

(a) protect the quality of the product, in that packing within the defined area avoids any risk of a deterioration in the honey's chemico-physical and organoleptic characteristics that the unavoidable movements and variations in physical and environmental conditions occurring transport to another area might cause;

(b) guarantee the control and traceability of the product by ensuring the effectiveness of the compulsory checks carried out by the authorised body at all stages of production provided for in Article 7 of the specification (within the meaning of Article 10 of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92).

4.6. Link: The production area is generally mountainous, to the north and east the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines separates it from the Po Valley, while to the south the limestone chain of the Apuan Alps and to the west the end of the Ligurian Apennines divides Lunigiana from the neighbouring valleys. In the centre of the area is a wide, alluvial, intramontane basin with a complex system of rivers, the River Magra being the most important, in which all the area's streams meet. The vicinity of Lunigiana to the sea and the complexity of the mountain landscape create a wide range of microclimates, with the lower-lying areas subject to the effects of thermal inversion, creating frequent night-time fogs that often last until late morning, and the hills enjoying a milder climate.

The soils and the mountainous nature of Lunigiana have meant that production in the area has always been extensive rather than intensive and this, together with a lack of industrial development, has preserved the environment with its abundant woodland. Lunigiana has around 65000 ha of woodland, accounting for 67 % of its area. The most common species are acacia (Robinia pseudo-acacia) and chestnut (Castanea sativa). Acacia, used for consolidating slopes, now grows naturally and is widespread in abandoned areas. During the brief but intense flowering period in April/May, bees produce large quantities of nectar from the blossom.

Chestnut trees, which have been grown since Roman times, have been an important resource for peasant families in Lunigiana, both as a source of food and for other uses (charcoal, wood and tannin) and during the flowering period in June and July are visited by bees. The abundance of these two species has therefore, over time, encouraged beekeepers to produce the two types of honey.

The environment is suited to bee-keeping because of the scarce population and the activity is carried out throughout the area. The abundance of the two species, acacia and chestnut, and the favourable sequence of flowering permit the production of particularly pure honey.

Bee-keeping has always been carried out in Lunigiana and a number of historical documents attest to this and to the product's renown. A document from Napoleonic times shows the number of hives in operation and the production and sale of honey to a range of traders. The same document shows that there was a candle factory producing for the local market. The area has a continuous tradition of the production of honey and bee products going back centuries and the establishment in 1873 of the Beekeepers' Association, the principal aim of which was the dissemination of rational bee-keeping practices, is a clear demonstration of the activity's deep roots in Lunigiana.

4.7. Inspection body Name: BIOAGRICOOP scrl

Address: Via Fucini, 10 - I-40033 Casalecchio di Reno (BO)

4.8. Labelling: The product must be packed in the defined production area and only glass containers with a twist-off lid with a capacity of between 30 g and 1000 g are allowed. The marking and presentation of the packed product are regulated by law. In addition to the wording laid down, labels must bear the following:

- "Miele della Lunigiana" di Acacia o di Castagno (Acacia or Chestnut Miele della Lunigiana);

- DOP - Denominazione di origine protetta (PDO Protected Designation of Origin);

- the logo of the PDO within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No 1726/98: the logo may appear on the label or on the seal attached to the packaging;

- the date of minimum durability as referred to in Articles 3 and 9 of Directive 2000/13/EC must be indicated with the following wording "Best before end ...", with the month and year, and must not be more than two years following the date of packing.

4.9. National requirements: -

EC No: IT/00195/2001.05.01.

Date of receipt of the full application: 20 October 2003.

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