Bulgarian yoghurt has been listed in the European Register of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO), Agriculture Minister Kiril Vatev announced in Brussels. "This traditional Bulgarian product is famous worldwide for its beneficial properties and its listing in the register as a PDO provides better conditions for its promotion," he said.
He also said that the new registration would give Bulgarian producers a competitive edge and provide additional guarantees for the product quality and origin for producers.
The initiative for the geographical indication came from a Bulgarian Association for Traditional Bulgarian dairy products. The Bulgarian Agriculture Ministry sent an application to the EC in February 2021.
Yoghurt is the second Bulgarian product registered as a protected designation of origin at European level, after ‘Strandzhanski manov med’ (Honeydew honey from the Strandzha region). A PDO status communicates the strongest link between a product and the place where it is traditionally made. To bear a PDO seal, every part of a product’s production, processing and preparation must take place in the specific region.. Bulgarian yoghurt is a dairy product made from raw milk from sheep, cows, buffaloes, goats or a mixture thereof, produced in Bulgaria using a symbiotic starter of the bacteria Lactobacillicus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which have not been subjected to genetic modification.
The favourable natural and climatic conditions in the country favour the development of the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, which is used in the production of Bulgarian yoghurt.
After the entry into force of the regulation, only producers, working in accordance with the approved product specification, certified by a controlling person, could use PDO or abbreviation, as well as the special symbol (logo) of the EU, with which PDO products are recognised. For this purpose, they should have undergone an approval procedure of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and their names should be entered in the register of manufacturers for the given product on the website of the ministry.
The names of food products will be protected as intellectual property in the EU and against unauthorized use or imitation, as well as to protect the interests of Bulgarian manufacturers against unfair competition and market abuse. Products with a protected geographical indication can be included in agreements between the EU and third countries for mutual recognition, cooperation and protection of the geographical designation area.