These products are protected by the designation of origin, which represents the highest form of protection under the Law on Quality Schemes of Agricultural and Food Products, since all stages of production, from raw material to processing, have to take place in a given geographical area for obtaining the designation of origin. As stated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, according to the product specification, a document containing all the elements required for protection, detailing the mode of production and the influence of all factors - climate, geographical environment, tradition and proven reputation: Montenegrin beef prosciutto is a homemade product of extra beef meat, of the first and second category, salted and smoked on beech or hornbeam tree. Montenegrin stelja is a charcuterie product of smoked and dried sheep meat, salted and smoked on beech or hornbeam tree.
"Montenegrin beef prosciutto" is produced in the northern part of Montenegro, a mountainous area with specific conditions of the external environment. For the specific characteristics of this product, it is the merit of the meat quality, but also the skill of the producers in all phases of production, from animal breeding on farms to the processing job in designated facilities. According to the defined production specifications, the production of "Montenegrin beef prosciutto" and "Montenegrin Stelja" is limited to the northern part, and the production area covers the whole or part of the territory of 13 municipalities in the north of Montenegro, namely: Plužine, Savnik, Žabljak, Pljevlja, Bijelo polje, Mojkovac, Kolasin, Berane, Andrijevica, Petnjica, Rožaje, Plav and Gusinje. The production area is characterized by a mountain climate, with a continental influence, at an altitude of 550 to 2,000 meters.
The protection procedure for these two products was initiated by the NGO "Association for meat quality from North-Montenegro", which was formed through a project launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the UN Organization for Food and Agriculture (UN FAO). The aim of the project is to improve standards of the quality of meat products in Montenegro and exchange experiences of the countries in the Western Balkans.
Apart from forming the association for the registration of Montenegrin beef prosciutto and Montenegrin stelja, two product specifications have been made with complementary documentation. At the same time, in order to educate and prepare producers for the registration procedure and further internal control of the production of these products, numerous activities have been carried out, including study trips of producers to Austria, Croatia, Italy," the press release states. The statement adds that for the members of the producer association, the registration of these two products will comprise a benefit in the part of achieving additional value on the market, the possibility of better valorization, especially through tourist consumption, as well as protection against abuse and imitations. "The newly registered products represent a new impetus for Montenegro in the area of quality policy, improvement of the position of small producers and the creation of preconditions for the more dynamic development of rural areas in the north. The Ministry will continue to encourage and support producers of all products with potential for registration, so in the future, there would be more products on the European list and thus we could add a new value based to the EU, based on the quality, specific and indigenous products," the statement concludes.
Text by Vijesti online, on July 17th, 2018, read more at Vijesti