"Made in Romania" – How reliable is information about origin?

In Romania, the corresponding designation concerning agricultural products and food must first be observed on the topic of designations of origin. In accordance with Romanian and European regulations and case law, the consumer must be given clear and unambiguously formulated information about the origin of the product. According to the applicable case law, an averagely informed, appropriately attentive and reasonable average consumer must be taken as a basis.

The designation or indication of origin means the name of an area, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, a country used to designate an agricultural product or a food

  • that comes from this area, this specific place or this specific country and
  • that primarily or exclusively owes its quality or characteristics to the geographical circumstances, including natural and human influences, and
  • that was generated, processed and produced in the defined geographical area.

The competent authority in Romania for the allocation and review of the documentation for the registration and receipt of the protection for a designation or indication of origin or the geographical information for agricultural products and food is the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Registered names in the aforementioned sense are protected against:

  • any unlawful appropriation, imitation or allusion, even if the actual origin of the product is specified or if the protected name is used in translation or together with expressions such as “kind”, “type”, “procedure”, “style”, “imitation” or the like;
  • all other false or misleading information relating to the origin, nature or essential properties of the products and appear on the presentation or outer packaging, in the advertising or in documents relating to the products concerned, as well as the use of containers that are intended to give a false impression with regard to the origin.

Irrespective of the above statements regarding agricultural products and food, it must be noted that all products sold in Romania must have information regarding the manufacturer, i.e. name, complete address, as well as origin and the corresponding information of the distributor/importer.

Furthermore, the general customs regulations regarding the determination of the origin or source of produced goods must be observed in Romania.

The distribution of products that contain the designations of origin or geographical information that do not correspond to the actual place of origin and are thus intended to deceive the consumer will be punished with a fine or imprisonment of up to three years.

Autor: Helge Schirkonyer