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ANFACO president Juan Manuel Cerqueira at the canning association headquarters.

Galician canning industry defends right to include 'Galicia' in its labelling

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Thursday, December 06, 2018, 00:50 (GMT + 9)

The Galician mussel canning industry defends its right to include the word ‘Galicia’ in its labelling if it produces with mussels from the Galician estuaries.

Business association ANFACO-CECOPESCA considers that the Galician mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, is a historical and social reference that can not be conceived without the impulse and promotion that was developed jointly with the Galician canning industry.

Galician mussel

ANFACO emphasizes that the origin of the mussel sector in Galicia, as it is known today, was linked to canning businessmen. In the 1940s, after the end of the Spanish Civil War and due to the shortage of sardines for canning, mussel farming was assessed on a stable basis thanks to the existing demand. This joint development in Galicia ended up positioning Spain as a mussel power in the 70s, which exported and knew how to sell such an appreciated product outside its borders. 

 
Canned mussel 

With a mussel production that reached 266,917 tonnes last year, according to the data of the Galician aquaculture yearbook, this autonomous community represents 98 per cent of the total mussel production in Spain. The apparent Galician consumption of this mussel is estimated at 222,000 tonnes, with a residual impact of imports of only 0.5 per cent.

Imports of processed mussel products in the EU in recent years, according to Eurostat data, have followed a stability in the average volume and even decreased in the period 2014-2016, which would include canned mussels from Chile. The same stability trend in the average import volume is observed in Spain.

ANFACO-CECOPESCA stresses that the Galician canning industry has always bet and will continue to do so on the Galician mussel as a raw material, a fact that shows that almost all of the canned mussels produced in Galicia use Galician mussel as a raw material, reaching in recent years more than 95 per cent of the annual average.

Mussel landing in Aldan estuary. (Photo: Santos Álvarez)

In spite of the above, the industry is under pressure to remove the word "Galicia" from its canned products, even though it complies with Decree 124/2010 of the Regional Ministry for Rural Affairs and EU Regulation 1169/2011 on consumer information.

"They are Galician products, made with Galician raw material demonstrated by their traceability, but they can not evoke Galicia or indicate their origin as from the Galician estuaries in their labelling. This would affect, according to official data 2017, 84.08 per cent of the mussel not certified under PDO that was used to prepare canned products or other preparations", stresses ANFACO.

For the association, this situation would suppose a clear damage to consumer information, when erasing the fair reference to Galician mussel from lines on labels in the mentioned products.

For this reason, the industry defends its right to include Galicia in its labelling if it produces with mussels from the Galician estuaries.

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