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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 23:1214-125 (article 42) 2000

"Styrian Pumpkin-Seed Oil g.g.A" - Over One Million control Numbers Have Been Assigned

Christian Konrad

"Steirisches Gemuse" (Styrian Vegetables), Am Engelsdorfgrund 10, A-8041 Graz, Austria; konrad@eog.lk-stmk.at

The Stamp of Origin - "Styrian Pumpkin-Seed Oil g.g.A": The growing of pumpkins for the production of pumpkin-seed oil is an old tradition in Styria and now represents an interesting and important source of income for 10,000 farmers in Styria, Burgenland, and Lower Austria as well as for 60 commercial oil mills.

The european Union has introduced the Stamp of Origin as a means of protecting special regional products of high quality and of guarding them and the regions that produce them against imitations and unfair competition. In order to secure pumpkin-seed oil as a source of potential income for the future and to ensure an increase in volume, a request was filed in 1995 for its registration as a Protected Stamp of Origin according to Article 5 VO (EEC) Nr. 2081/92 as "Styrian Pumpkin-Seed Oil g.g.A" (Fig. 1).

The letters"g.g.A" mean "geschutze geographische Angabe" i.e., "protected designation of origin." About 2000 farmers joined together to produce quality pumpkin-seed oil according to the regulations for g.g.A products. This represents approximately 70% of the domestic land under cultivation for the production of marketable oil-pumpkin crops.

Complete record of production: After three years of basic preparations to meet the requirements of the European Economic community regulations, "Styrian Pumpkin-Seed Oil g.g.A" was officially recognized as a Stamp of Origin on November 12, 1998, ensuring protection to this product throughout Europe. The producers' Society, "Styrian Vegetables," has built up a system of continuous control for the production of pumpkin-seed oil bearing this stamp. Thus the origin of each bottle of Styrian pumpkin-seed oil can be traced completely from the field, to the harvested crop, to the oil mill where it is pressed, and finally to the point of sale. Just like Champagne, Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto di San Daniele or Greek Feta cheese, Styrian Pumpkin-Seed Oil g.g.A. is one of the best-controlled specialties of Europe.

The control system for Styrian Pumpkin-Seed Oil from specific protected geographic areas ensures:

  • Oil-seed grown in designated areas of eastern Austria
  • Oil pressed in mills located in the production region
  • 100% pure pumpkin-seed oil from the first pressing

The consumer will recognize this special pumpkin-seed oil by the stamp "Styrian Pumpkin-Seed Oil protected geographic specification." Each stamp bears an individual control number which makes it possible to follow the pumpkin seed from the farmer's field to the display shelves in the store. The Styrian State Food Authority is responsible for these controls.

One million control numbers: From December 1998 to December 1, 1999, one million control numbers have been issued. Until mid-February 2000, 1.200.000 control numbers have been issued. This means that now much more than one million bottles of Styrian pumpkin-seed oil bear the protected-designation-of-origin stamp, indicating the great interest of the farmer in offering an exclusive product of high quality.

Styrian pumpkin-seed oil, with its unique taste, beneficial nutritional effects and now, with its official recognition by the European Union as a product with protected designation of origin, reflects in a certain manner the Styrian way of life and culture. In this sense "Styrian Pumpkin-Seed Oil" a visiting card for Styria which bears the message of sustainability an intelligent agriculture.

Figure 1

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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 9 November, 2009