Academic journal article Agricultural Economics Review

Description of the Processing Stages of a Protected Designation of Origin Fish Product: The Greek Caviar "Avgotaracho Messolongiou"

Academic journal article Agricultural Economics Review

Description of the Processing Stages of a Protected Designation of Origin Fish Product: The Greek Caviar "Avgotaracho Messolongiou"

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Greek avgotaracho with trade name "avgotaracho Messolonghiou" is produced from fish caught in the Messolonghi-Etoliko lagoons, is famous for its quality and flavour and has a great commercial value (about 140€/kg at 2005) at local markets (KATSELIS et al., 2005). Documented history on the quality and commercial value of "avgotaracho Messolonghiou" has been described since 16th century (TSELEBI, 1990), while a detailed description of the production has been reported since early of 20th century (PANAGIOTOPOULOS, 1916; STASINOPOULOS, 1926). Nowadays two types of "avgotaracho Messolonghiou" were processed. The traditional one that was produced by using traditional equipment based on producers' experience and the modern type that follows a standardized technique on salting, drying and waxing by using modern processing equipment.

The traditional product of "avgotaracho Messolonghiou" has been identified by the EU (07/02/1996), because of its long history and well-known reputation, as product with protected designation of origin (PDO) with the code EL/PDO/0017/0446 (EC 1263/96 with the name avgotaracho Messolonghiou PDO). It is the oldest PDO of the category of "Fresh fish, molluscs, crustaceans and products derived there from" and along with the roes extracted from Coregonus albula, which is the most commercially important fresh water species in Finland (MUJE et al., 2002), are the only EU PDO's derived from fish products. The main issues for the production of "Avgotaracho Messolonghiou" to be certified as a PDO were described in details in the above-mentioned Law that: (a) the origin of the fish must be from the Mesolonghi-Etolikon lagoons, (b) fish are caught using barrier traps during their spawning migration and (c) the whole process should be carried out in the lagoon facilities.

Almost 20 years after the certification of avgotaracho Messolonghiou PDO the first certified laboratory for the production of this product, which could be used by all fisherman associations that are leasing different sites of the system, was established by the fishermen association "Messolonghiou Renaissance". The PDO process was approved by the National organisation for the certification of qualifications and vocational guidance. This effort oriented to safeguard the traditional character of the product due to pressures received by roes produced by other Greek laboratories that are operating throughout the year by importing fresh (from the early of 20th century) (PANAGIOTOPOULOS, 1916) or frozen liver and gonads of other species and/or of M. cephalus by other countries (member states of EU and/or third countries). The establishment of a certified laboratory might also compensate the decrease of the traditional avgotaracho Messolonghiou values in local markets due to finance crisis occurred in Greece (MAKRI and KOUTSOURIS, 2015).

So far studies referred to avgotaracho Messolonghiou were focused on: (a) authentication of the mullet roe through biochemical methods (KLOSSA-KILIA et al., 2008), (b) chemical composition and nutritional value (KALOGEROPOULOS et al., 2008), (c) production estimation based to the landings of M. cephalus (KATSELIS et al., 2005, and (d) spawning migration of M. cephalus (VIDALIS et al., 1997; KATSELIS et al., 2007; 2015). Data on the product parameters during its manufacturing process are limited on rough estimations at each stage of the process (ROGDAKIS, 1994) and no information existed for the product traceability.

The aims of the present study were to assess the main technical characteristics of the manufacturing process of the avgotaracho Messolonghiou PDO followed by different producers in order to improve the traceability of the PDO product. The effect of climatic conditions on the processing stages was also examined, because air humidity is a critical factor on the food drying process (CHEN, 2009). It worthy to note that no data given for the obtained product's chemical composition (e. …

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