Official Journal of the European Union

C 30/16

Publication of an application for registration pursuant to Article 6(2) of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin

(2005/C 30/09)

This publication confers the right to object to the application pursuant to Articles 7 and 12d of the abovementioned Regulation. Any objection to this application must be submitted via the competent authority in a Member State, in a WTO member country or in a third country recognized in accordance with Article 12(3) within a time limit of six months from the date of this publication. The arguments for publication are set out below, in particular under 4.6, and are considered to justify the application within the meaning of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92.



EC No: ES/00278/19.2.2003

PDO ( ) PGI (X)

This summary has been drawn up for information purposes only. For full details, in particular the producers of products covered by the PDO or PGI concerned, please consult the complete version of the product specification obtainable at national level or from the European Commission (1).

1.   Responsible department in the Member State


Subdirección General de Sistemas de Calidad Diferenciada, Dirección General de Alimentación, Secretaria General de Agricultura y Alimentación del Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación, España.


Paseo Infanta Isabel, 1, E-28071, Madrid.


(34) 913 475394


(34) 913 475410

2.   Group



Mieles Anta, SL.



C/Ermita, 34 Polígono de A Grela-Bens. A Coruña



Sociedad Cooperativa ‘A Quiroga’



Vilanova, 43 bajo, Fene. A Coruña



producers/processors (X) other ( )

3.   Type of product:

products of animal origin



4.   Specification

(summary of requirements under Article 4(2))

4.1.   Name: ‘Miel de Galicia’ or ‘Mel de Galicia’.

4.2.   Description: The product covered by the protected geographical indication (PGI) ‘Miel de Galicia’ or ‘Mel de Galicia’ is defined as honey possessing the characteristics defined in this specification and meeting for the purposes of production, processing and packaging all the requirements set out in the specification, the quality control manual and the legislation in force. It is produced in hives with movable panels, by decanting or centrifuging. It is presented in the liquid state, crystallised or creamy, and the liquid honey may also contain dried fruits. It may also be presented in whole combs or sections of combs.

Galician honey is classified according to its botanical origin as follows:

Multi-flower honey,

Single-flower honey from eucalyptus,

Single-flower honey from chestnut,

Multi-flower honey from blackberry,

Single-flower honey from heather.

In addition to the characteristics defined in the quality standard for honey intended for the domestic market, the honey covered by the PGI must possess the following characteristics:

Physico-chemical characteristics:


Water content: maximum 18.5 %;


Diastase activity: minimum 9 on the Gothe scale. Honeys with a low enzyme content, e.g. minimum 4 on that scale, providing the hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) content does not exceed 10 mg/kg;


HMF: maximum 28 mg/kg.

Pollen characteristics:

In general, the pollen spectrum considered as a whole must be typical of the Galician honeys.

The pollen combination Helianthus annuus-Olea europaea-Cistus ladanifer may not in any event exceed 5 % of the total pollen spectrum.

Moreover, depending on the floral origin of the various types of honey listed, pollen spectrums must fulfil the following requirements:


Multi-flower honey: the pollen must chiefly belong to: Castanea sativa, Eucalyptus sp., Ericaceae, Rubus sp., Rosaceae, Cytisus sp-Ulex sp., Trifolium sp., Lotus sp., Campanula, Centaurea, Quercus sp., Echium sp., Taraxacum sp. and Brassica sp.


Multi-flower honeys:

‘Eucalyptus honey’: the minimum percentage of pollen of eucalyptus (Eucaliptus sp.) must be 70 %,

‘Chestnut honey’: the minimum percentage of pollen of chestnut (Castanea sp.) must be 70 %,

‘Blackberry honey’: the minimum percentage of pollen of blackberry (Rubus sp.) must be 45 %,

‘Heather honey’: the minimum percentage of pollen of heather (Erica sp.) must be 45 %.

Organoleptic characteristics:

As a general rule, the honeys must possess organoleptic characteristics that are specific to the relevant floral origin as far as colour, aroma and flavour are concerned. On the basis of relevant origin, the most distinctive organoleptic characteristics are as follows:


Multi-flower honeys: colour ranging from amber to dark amber, flavour and aroma in line with the predominant flower in the honey;


Single-flower from eucalyptus: amber-coloured, mild flavour and aroma reminiscent of wax;


Single-flower from chestnut: dark honey, intense flavour and penetrating aromas reminiscent of the blossom;


Single-flower from blackberry: dark amber in colour, strong fruity and markedly sweet flavour and fruity aromas;


Single-flower from heather: dark amber in colour or dark with reddish tones, slightly bitter flavour, persistent floral aromas.

4.3.   Geographicalarea: The production, processing and packaging area of the honeys covered by the protected geographical indication Miel de Galicia extends across the whole of the Autonomous Community of Galicia.

4.4.   Proof of origin: The PGI ‘Miel de Galicia’ may be used only to cover the honey which comes from the installations listed in the registers of the Regulating Board, is produced in accordance with the standards laid down in the specification and the quality control manual and meets the criteria applying to it.

The Regulating Board keeps the following registers:

register of holdings, in which are listed those holdings situated in the Autonomous Community of Galicia which intend to use their production to obtain honey covered by the protected geographical indication ‘Miel de Galicia’. They must have at least ten hives with movable panels, whether vertical or horizontal, and be multi-storeyed;

register of extraction, storage and/or packaging installations in which are listed those installations situated in the Autonomous Community of Galicia which carry out some of the activities for processing the honey which may be protected by the geographical indication.

All individual or legal persons holding assets listed in the registers, as well as holdings, installations and products are subjected to checks carried out by the Regulating Board for the purpose of verifying that the products bearing the protected geographical indication ‘Miel de Galicia’ fulfil the requirements set out in the Regulation and the specification.

Each marketing year, the quantities of honey certified by the geographical indication which have been placed on the market by each firm listed in the register of packaging installations are checked by the Regulating Board in order to verify that they tally with the quantities of honey produced by the beekeepers listed in the register of producers or purchased from them or from other firms listed in the register.

The checks take the form of inspections of the holdings and installations, scrutiny of the documents and an analysis of the raw material and the finished product.

The certification process relates to homogenous lots or batches and involves analytical and organoleptic examinations leading to the approval, rejection or temporary storage of the lots or batches of checked honey. Matters to be resolved are referred to the full Regulating Board or, where appropriate, the certification panel, on the basis of the technical reports provided by the approval committee.

Where any degradation is observed impairing quality or where the Regulation on the geographical indication or any other relevant legislation is not complied with as regards production, processing and packaging, the honeys are not certified by the Regulating Board and hence lose entitlement to the use of the protected geographical indication.

4.5.   Method of production: Hive management practices seek to produce the highest quality honeys covered by the geographical indication. During harvesting, the hives are not subjected to any chemical treatment and the bees are given no food whatsoever.

Traditional methods are used to remove the bees from the combs, preference being given to a bee escape or blower; the smoker is used with moderation and chemical repellents are never used.

The honey is extracted by centrifuging or decanting, never by pressing.

The work involving the extraction of the honey is undertaken with the greatest care and under strict conditions of hygiene in a closed area that is clean and set aside for that purpose, the air in it being dried a week in advance until a relative humidity of less than 60 % is attained, with dehumidifiers or ventilation.

The techniques used for uncapping the combs may in no event affect the quality characteristics of the honeys. The uncapping knives must be clean and dry and may not exceed 40 °C.

Once the honey has been extracted and poured through a double filter it undergoes a decanting process, and scumming is undertaken before it is stored and packed.

Homogenisation of the honey may be undertaken using a manual or mechanical instrument with reduced rotating action so as not to alter the characteristics of the product.

Collection and transport must take place under hygienic conditions, using containers for food use authorised in the quality control manual and the legislation in force and guaranteeing product quality.

Packaging takes place at the installations listed in the Regulating Board's relevant register.

As indicated above, both production and the subsequent operations of extraction, storage and packaging must be carried out in the defined geographical area.

Miel de Galicia is packaged in the area, and this has traditionally been the case, so as to preserve its special characteristics and its quality, since this allows the Regulating Board to carry out more effective checks and prevents the honey been damaged by inadequate transport, storage and packaging conditions.

In addition, the honey may only be packed in the containers specified in this specification in plants that only pack honey from holdings listed in the registers of the protected geographical indication. The labels and back labels are also affixed in those plants under the supervision of the Regulating Board, all of which is intended to preserve the quality and ensure the traceability of the product.

Containers intended for direct consumption of the honeys generally hold 500 g or 1 000 g.

Containers must close hermetically to prevent the loss of natural aromas and the absorption of odours, environmental humidity, etc. liable to affect the product.

4.6.   Link:


Beekeeping reached its climax in Galicia before the introduction of sugar, honey being highly prized as a sweetener and for its special medicinal properties. According to the Catastro de Ensenada of 1752-1753, Galicia had a total of 366 339 traditional beehives, also known as trobos or cortizos, some of which still exist in a number of places. This fact clearly illustrates the importance of apiculture in Galicia going back to antiquity and is reflected in Galician place names.

By cortín, albar, abellariza, albiza or albariza are meant rural roofless constructions, oval, circular or sometimes rectangular in shape, consisting of high walls to protect the hives and prevent the intrusion of animals (mainly bears). They are vestiges of an age and are still standing, and in many mountain areas, particularly in the eastern sierras of Ancares and Caurel and the sierra del Suido, some of them can still be used today.

The product was traded only at local festivities, which took place in the autumn, the honey being a seasonal product and collected only once a year.

In 1880 the parish priest of Argozón (Chantada, Lugo), Don Benigno Ledo, set up the first movable hive and several years later constructed the first hive designed for breeding by division and for the breeding of queens and called it a nursery hive. Testifying to the importance of this man for beekeeping not just in Galicia but also in Spain is a book by Roma Fábrega which states that the first Spaniard to have movable hives was Don Benigno Ledo, the Galician ‘priest of the bees’.

The first work to be published in Galicia on beekeeping is probably the Manual de Apiculturab y Don Ramón Pimentel Méndez (1893) written specifically for Galician beekeepers.

The rapid expansion of modern beekeeping did not start until 1975, the year in which, thanks to the work of the producer associations, the first real changes took place influencing the know-how of beekeepers and the traditional methods of hive management. The major change to affect beekeeping generally was the changeover from fixed hives to movable hives, mainly multi-storeyed hives.

At present, honey and wax are the products of beekeeping that are commercially viable in Galicia. The Galician consumer has appreciated honey since ancient times, a factor that has enhanced its market value.

Natural conditions

Owing to its geographical position in the north-western corner of the Iberian Peninsula, at the cross-roads of two types of climate – Atlantic and ‘meseta’ – Galicia has various weather patterns, which, together with its geological features and soils, its past, its relief and the intervention of man, determine the characteristics of the flora and hence of the honey produced.

Galician honeys are, on account of their biogeographical environment, very different from those produced elsewhere in Spain. They stand out by not being made up of Mediterranean type plants or cultivation elements frequently found in other parts of Spain, such as Helianthus annus or Olea europaea. The fact, therefore, that they do not contain any or only small quantities of pollen well represented in other Spanish honeys means that it is easy to differentiate them.

Galicia is fairly homogenous as regards the plants providing nectar for the production of honey, the most important differences in the characteristics of its honey being due to the relative abundance of the various species of plant.

Towards the coast, high proportions of Eucalyptus are more common. The whole of the Galician coast, both its Atlantic and its Cantabrian stretches, is now intensely planted with E. globulus, which is the principal source of nectar for honey in the region, unlike in other parts of Spain, where the main source is E. camaldulensis.

In inland areas, honey production is influenced by an abundance of three plant species: Castanea sativa, Erica and Rubus.

Castanea sativa is found all over Galicia, as single trees on the edge of meadows or cropland, in single-species woodland, known as ‘soutos’ or in mixed deciduous woodland.

Erica is very common in the region, since it is one of the trees used for repopulating degraded forests. The most important species for honey production are E. umbellata, E. arborea, E. australis and E. cinerea.

Another excellent plant for honey production in Galicia is Rubus. This is very common in undergrowth and along roadsides, cropland and abandoned arable land. It often grows in ruderal areas. Plants of this type produce large amounts of nectar that influence the organoleptic properties of many Galician honeys.

Since Rubus is the last plant to flower before beekeepers harvest their honey, it is prominent in pollen spectrums, diluting the presence of other, earlier-blooming species. These honeys are dark in colour, sweet and more acidic. The presence of Rubus in the honeys of Galicia, Spain's main producer of this type of honey, gives them their special physico-chemical characteristics.

As has already been mentioned, there are two distinct production areas within the region (on the coast and inland). Between the two lies a transition zone, varying in extent, in which honey exhibits mixed characteristics. Most of the honey produced in this zone is multi-flower honey, with a balanced mix of Castanea sativa and Eucalyptus globulus, a phenomenon almost exclusive to Galicia.

Attention should be drawn to the low nectar and pollen content of Galician honeys.

The low numbers of pollen grains per gram of honey come mainly from those species that are strongly represented in the region (Castanea sativa and Eucalyptus). This is related to the types of hive and the extraction method (centrifugation) used by beekeepers.

4.7.   Inspection body: Name: Consejo Regulador de la Indicación Geográfica Protegida ‘Miel de Galicia’.

Address: Pazo de Quián s/n, Sergude. 15881-Boqueixón. A Coruña.

Tel. (34) 981 511913, Fax (34) 981 511913.

The Regulating Board fulfils the requirements laid down in European standard EN 45011, in accordance with Article 10 of Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92.

4.8.   Labelling: The honeys marketed under the protected geographical indication ‘Miel de Galicia’ must, after being certified, bear the label corresponding to the trade mark specific to each packer, used solely for protected honeys, as well as a back label with alphanumeric code numbered in sequence, approved and issued by the Regulating Board with the official logo of the geographical indication. The words Indicación Geográfica Protegida ‘Miel de Galicia’ or ‘Mel de Galicia’ must appear on the labels and back labels.

4.9.   National requirements:

Law No 25/1970 of 2 December 1970 on rules governing viticulture, wine and spirits,

Decree No 835/1972 of 23 March 1972 on detailed rules for the implementation of Law No 25/1970,

Order of the MAPA of 25 January 1994 specifying the correlation between Spanish law and Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 as regards designations of origin and geographical indications for agricultural products and foodstuffs,

Royal Decree No 1643/1999 22 October 1999 on the procedure governing applications for entry into the Community register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications.

(1)  European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture, Agricultural product quality policy, B-1049 Brussels.