Czech-Polish salami war on horizon over EU ‘speciality’ label

Kiełbasa myśliwska

Now, what do champagne, Roquefort cheese and Melton Mowbray pork pies all have in common? Well, you might not want to eat them all at once for one thing, but more importantly they all enjoy “Protected Geographical Status” from the European Union. Meaning that Roquefort cheese must be matured in the natural caves of Roquefort to be sold under the name ‘Roquefort’, and so on. EU countries have fought fierce battles over the coveted ‘protected’ label, and the latest hostilities are brewing between the Czech Republic and Poland…this time over salami.

It was the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck who once said “laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.” That phrase springs to mind when reading about the latest salami-fuelled struggle between Czechs and Poles.

Czech MEP Jan Březina has written to the European Commission over a Polish application for “traditional speciality” status for two of its salamis: ‘Kabanosy’ and ‘Kiełbasa myśliwska’. This being Central Europe, the Czechs make very similar salamis of their own, with virtually identical names.

Mr Březina’s beef, as it were, is that Poland’s application contains errors that could harm the interests of Czech salami producers and confuse Czech salami consumers. He says that in both the Polish and English version of the ‘Kabanosy’ application, the term ‘Kabanos’ is used – which happens to be the Czech word for the same salami made here in the Czech Republic.

So in other words, if the Poles get their way, the only ‘Kabanos’ sold with the distinctive blue and yellow “Traditional Speciality Guaranteed” label – even in Czech supermarkets - would have to be made in Poland.

As for ‘Kiełbasa myśliwska’ – the Polish application translates this into Czech as ‘Lovecká klobása’, which is a wholly different - and genuinely Czech - sausage. The correct Czech translation would presumably be ‘Myslivecká klobása’.

Jan Březina is now waiting for clarification from the Commission. If he’s proved right, the Czechs can notch up another victory in the ‘Protected’ product stakes. In the wider war for gastronomic supremacy they seem to have the upper hand; the Czech Republic has won 22 such appellations, Poland just 14.