- In the area of food safety in the Republic of Slovenia, the so-called »Food Law« ((ES) Regulation No. 178/2002 of the European Parliament and Council), defining the general principles and demands of the food production legislation, the founding of the European Agency for Food Safety and the procedures connected with food safety has been in force since the country joined the EU on 1 May 2004.
In developing its food production legislation, the EU determined a high level of health protection which is used without discrimination and independent of whether food is to be marketed in the internal or international market.
In the EU, food safety and the protection of consumer interests has become an increasing concern of the public, along with non-governmental organisations, professional organisations, international trading partners and trade organisations. The competent organs are aware that it is necessary to assure the confidence of consumers and trading partners via the public and transparent development of the food production industry and by public authorities informing the public in an appropriate manner when there is reasonable suspicion a certain food product presents a health hazard.
In both the European Union and third countries the safety and confidence of consumers are of paramount importance. The European Union is a powerful world economic entity in the sector of food and feed. It has acceded to international trade agreements, it contributes to the development of international standards presenting the foundation of food legislation and supports the principles of free trade with safe feed and safe, quality food, without discrimination, following good and ethical behaviour in trading habits.
In the EU, different non-governmental organisations (associations or societies for consumer protection, branch nongovernmental organisations in the field of individual food industries or a corresponding industry producing products to be used in the food processing industry) take care of consumer protection.
In the framework of the rules in force in the EU that apply to the making and changing of legislation, they are active in the EU working groups by preparing suggestions for new regulations. This means that with their suggestions they can take part in the creation and adoption of European regulations and thus see to the fact that regulations in the field of food or substances used in food production which are acceptable to the consumer in the sense of protecting their health and their protection against different imitations are adopted. This is to ensure the fairness of proceedings in the internal European market in the food and foodstuffs trade.
- European standards in the field of food and foodstuffs safety are implemented in Slovenia and assure a high level of consumer health safety. This enhances the confidence of domestic and foreign consumers in the food produced and processed in Slovenia. In order to maintain the high level of food safety, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food operates systems for the traceability of animals from their birth through to their slaughtering that are equivalent to the EU standards.
The marketing of quality agricultural products and foodstuffs in the Republic of Slovenia is included in the enhancement of the quality system of specific agricultural products or foodstuffs consistent with the corresponding EU legislation. That is why the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food is working intensely on the protection of specific agricultural products or foodstuffs.
Work on protection and certification takes place in line with the common European policy on quality adopted in July 2003. Producer groups can submit an application for protection at the national level. When the protection at the national level is granted, the application is sent to the Commission for protection at the European level. Procedures for acquiring either the national or European protection are precise and very demanding and, in return, the acquired label guarantees quality to the buyer and enhances the value of the product.
- Protection and certification are one of the most important means for ensuring the high quality of foodstuffs, with a special emphasis on specific agricultural products and foodstuffs. These are products with a protected designation of origin, protected geographical indication, traditional speciality guaranteed or of higher quality.
- Until 1 January 2008, Slovenia protected at national level 32 Slovenian specific agricultural products or foodstuffs. 1 Slovenian specific agricultural product or foodstuff is protected at the European level, 24 are in the procedure for the protection at the European level.
Eleven of them carry the protection of geographical origin (six of which have already been certified), ten of them carry the protection of geographical indication (four of which have already been certified), five carry the traditional specialty guaranteed label (two certified), while six products carry the higher quality label and only one of them has not been certified.
- At the beginning of 2007 extra virgin olive oil from the Slovenian Istria was registered at the EU level.
For the producers, integration into quality schemes is an opportunity to achieve greater market competitiveness, higher product specificity and the better interaction of all members in the chain performing together in the market. Due to the ever increasing interest of potential investors concerning the possibility of protecting new products in the Republic of Slovenia, the country is interested in supporting measures upholding the quality schemes for specific agricultural products or foodstuffs that will also be supported in the future.
In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food emphasises the providing of information and rising of awareness of consumers by preparing new foldouts and publications each year.
- The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food is paying great attention to foodstuffs safety and the field of food safety in general. The measures are developed in such a way as to inspire the confidence of domestic and foreign consumers in the products produced and processed in Slovenia.
The offer of the Slovenian Countryside
Even though the basic objective of agriculture in Slovenia, like elsewhere in Europe, is the production of food, it also performs a number of other tasks. One of these is farm tourism that offers a firstclass environment for rest and recreation, along with the processing of agricultural products using traditional methods. In order to make more money, farms with a subsidiary processing occupation often decide to sell their products directly and thus expand their offer with a small farm shop and an authentic place for tasting.
- In 2007, 3,089 family farms or 4% of all farms (only 1.7% in 2003) were engaged in a subsidiary occupation. This growing trend is continuing, especially after certain changes to the legislation that eased the requirements to register specific subsidiary occupations.
With regard to their high number four activities stand out: services with farming and forest mechanisation are in first place, tourist activities on farms in the second place and fruit and vegetable processing is in the third place.
- In the future, we anticipate an increase in the number of farms with milk- and meat-processing activities because these subsidiary occupations are believed to be among the most demanding activities and it consequently takes them a little longer to develop. In the last few years, with the help of European funds Slovenia has considerably supported these subsidiary occupations.