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  • Apples are a very popular fruit, and many people eat them frequently. This is not surprising – apples have many nutritive benefits and an excellent taste. When have you last eaten them? After reading this article, you will work up your appetite and learn why it is good to choose fruits from the EU. Here are the seven reasons for which apples are worth eating!

    Apples – one fruit, many varieties

    Do you know that one apple differs from another? Some varieties are harder and sourer, whereas others are very sweet and have soft flesh. You will surely find a variety that will become your favourite one! All the more so, because including apples in your daily diet will give you many benefits.

    Discover the seven reasons for which apples are worth eating

    Apples differ in shape, size, colour and ripening period.[i] However, all of them have the same advantages. Read about the seven most important ones:

    1. Delicious taste. Each variety has its lovers and a distinctive taste. It is worth tasting apples grown in Poland: Royal Gala, Ligol, Red Delicious and Red Jonaprice.
    2. Broad culinary potential. You can eat them in a raw, cooked, baked, roasted, braised or dried form. Apples finely enrich the taste of desserts, salads, sauces and meat dishes. They are used for making juices, compotes, or even alcoholic beverages and vinegar.
    3. Rich nutritive value. Apples have a rich chemical composition. They contain valuable vitamins (C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, A, E, etc.), provitamins (e.g., β-carotene and carotenoids) and various chemical elements.[ii]
    4. Natural source of polyphenols. Apples and their products are rich in polyphenols – compounds with a strong oxidising effect that are worth including in your daily diet.[iii]
    5. High fibre content. Dietary fibre is an important ingredient of apples. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends the consumption of 27–40 g of fibre per day, and eating one or two apples is a great step to achieving this goal.[iv]
    6. Low-calorie snack. An apple of average size (150 g) has only 50–80 kcal, mainly from hydrocarbons (ca. 14% of the composition). It is, therefore, a nourishing and valuable snack.
    7. Low price all year round. The price of apples is really attractive, and you can enjoy their taste all year round, because both early and late varieties are available in shops.

    Choose tasty and safe apples from the EU

    Have you become hungry for a juicy apple? Fruits produced in the EU are not only tasty, but also rich in nutritive and safe ingredients. Their high quality is possible thanks to EU legislation that lays down specific rules for the establishment, maintenance and protection of orchards. So, when you go shopping next time, remember about this exceptional fruit!

     

     

    [i] Ibidem.

    [ii] Ibidem.

    [iii] Ibidem, p. 139.

    [iv] H. Bojarowicz, P. Dźwigulska, ‘Suplementy diety. Część II. Wybrane składniki suplementów diety oraz ich przeznaczenie’, Hygeia Public Health 2012, vol. 47(4), p. 441.

    Tiny blueberry fruits may seem inconspicuous, but they have an amazing taste and a great culinary potential! Have you had an opportunity to taste them? Read why it is good to eat blueberries regularly, how to get the best taste out of them and what are the best qualities of fruit from the EU.

    Highbush blueberry – a fruit with a unique taste

    The high blueberry comes from Northern America. It is a long-lived shrub, whose berries form dark blue bunches with light-coloured flesh.[i] They have an aromatic and pleasant taste.

    Not only taste – discover the nutritional properties of the blueberry

    Blueberries are characterised by high nutritive value. They are a source of vitamin C and A and contain a number of other vitamins: niacins, B1 and B2.[ii] By eating 100 g of fruit, you provide your body with hydrocarbons, calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium (81.0 mg).[iii] In addition, the blueberry contains even 5 times as many antioxidants as the apple or carrot does.[iv] And, last but not least, blueberry fruits are low in calories. The energy value of 100 g is only 62 kcal!

    How to include the blueberry in your daily diet?

    The blueberry is ideal for raw consumption as an ingredient of savoury dishes and, of course, desserts. You can add it to yoghurt, ice-cream, cocktails and salads. It is a perfect supplement to various cakes. Blueberry products, such as jams, juices, nectars or even cordials, are very popular. As you can see, there are really many ways to eat these delicious little balls!

    Why are EU blueberries worth choosing?

    The highbush blueberry cultivated in the EU has a unique taste and nutritional properties. Its fruits are safe and of high quality because EU farmers follow the rules of the integrated plant protection system.[v] This involves a number of measures:

    Not surprisingly, products from Europe are popular among consumers. You can also buy consciously by choosing the safe highbush blueberry cultivated in the EU. Its taste and nutritional value will enrich your diet!

     

     

    [i] J. Rusnak, Uprawa borówki amerykańskiej, Karniowice 2012, p. 3.

    [ii] Ibidem.

    [iii] A. Reszka, T. Lesiów, J. Mońka, Uwarunkowania ekonomiczne uprawy i przetwórstwa owoców borówki wysokiej w Polsce, Nauki inżynierskie i technologiczne, no. 2(25)/2017, pp. 57-58.

    [iv] J. Rusnak, ibidem.

    [v] Metodyka integrowanej ochrony borówki, H. Bryk (ed.), Skierniewice 2013, p. 5.

    [vi] Ibidem.

    Compliance with the rules of sustainable production guarantees tasty and safe food you can use every day. Such actions are standardised and described in the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy. Read what this policy is about and how it contributes to the high quality of food products from the EU.

    What is the Farm to Fork strategy?

    The Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy is a comprehensive 10-year plan of the European Commission announced in May 2020.[i] It indicates a just, safe and environment-friendly food production system. The main goals of the strategy are:

    The scope of the F2F concept encompasses all stages of the food chain – from production and distribution to consumption.[iii] Each Member State puts it into practice by implementing its recommendations on national levels.

    Why does the EU attach great importance to the F2F strategy?

    The Farm to Fork strategy is the first comprehensive policy concerning the food production system. Earlier such actions were conducted on a sector-wide scale and addressed separate issues for agriculture, environment, health and trade.[iv] Currently, the EC’s recommendations are changing the comprehensive approach to food production.

    How does the F2F strategy influence food from the EU?

    With food safety recognised as a priority, EU farms introduced a range of technological changes. They encompass sustainable production technologies, the reduced use of fertilisers and harmonious co-operation between producers and suppliers.[v] They ensure the high quality and safety of food products from the EU.

    What does the Farm to Fork strategy mean to you?

    New regulations guarantee the high quality of plant-based and animal-based products. Food from the EU is certainly worth looking for on shop shelves. When choosing it, you take care of your safety and benefit from the Farm to Fork strategy by enjoying delicious food.

     

     

    [i] The official website of the EU Council: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/pl/policies/from-farm-to-fork/ (access: 7.09.2022)

    [ii] Ibid.

    [iii] K. Kot, Strategia od Pola do Stołu – jak wpłynie na produkcję żywności [Farm to Fork Strategy: How It Will Influence Food Production] Bezpieczeństwo żywności w praktyce [Food Safety in Practice] bulletin, no. 24/2020, https://bezpieczenstwozywnosci.wip.pl/nowosci/strategia-od-pola-do-stolu-jak-wplynie-na-produkcje-zywnosci-3880.html (access: 7.09.2022)

    [iv] Ibid.

    [v] Ibid.

     

    Have you ever tasted chokeberries? In this article, you will learn about their high nutritional values and the culinary delights of chokeberry products. Finally, we will explain the benefits you will enjoy when choosing fruits from the European Union.

    What do chokeberries look like and taste?

    While ripening at the end of August and the beginning of September, chokeberries are small, navy blue or almost black balls.[i] They are fairly sweet but also tart and a bit astringent because they contain tannin (similarly to red wine).[ii] If you have never tasted them, it is high time you changed it!

    Why are they worth eating?

    These small, dark balls are valuable sources of vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamins B, C, E and K as well as zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron.[iii]

    The most important constituents of chokeberries include polyphenols such as anthocyanins, flavonoids and phenolic acids.[iv] Polyphenols are commonly recognised as potent antioxidants. Depending on the plant variety, crop conditions and the harvest season, 100 g of chokeberries may contain up to 8000 mg of antioxidants.[v] Compared to blueberries, apples, strawberries or cranberries, it is a four-fold larger amount![vi]

    What can you create from chokeberries in the kitchen?

    Chokeberries are so rich in valuable substances that they are worth being included in your diet. You can easily use them to prepare fruit drink, jam, jelly or syrup. They can be excellently paired with cherries, currants, apples and mint.

    Tasty EU chokeberries can be bought unprocessed or in the form of syrups, juices, jams or lyophilisates. You may add them to desserts, cocktails and cakes. As you see, there are lots of ideas!

    If you do not like the tart taste of chokeberries, simply freeze them for 48 hours.

    Choose the EU chokeberries!

    The European Union requires food producers to follow the short supply chains, which is actually a return to the traditional distribution systems.[vii] What does it mean to you? Such fruits have the confirmed origin, are of a high quality and taste delicious!

     

    [i] M. Białek, J. Rutkowska, E. Hallmann, Aronia czarnoowocowa (Aronia melanocarpa) jako potencjalny składnik żywności funkcjonalnej, „Żywność. Nauka. Technologia. Jakość”, No 6(85)/2012, p. 25

    [ii] Ibidem, p. 24

    [iii] A. Szopa, P. Kubica, H. Ekiert, Ekologia, skład chemiczny, działanie prozdrowotne oraz badania biotechnologiczne aronii czarnoowocowej (Aronia melanocarpa (Michx.) Elliott), aronii czerwonej (Aronia arbutifolia (L.) Pers.) i aronii śliwolistnej (Aronia x prunifolia (Marsh.) Rehd.), Postępy Fitoterapii, No 2, 2017, p. 149

    [iv] Tamże

    [v] M. Białek, J. Rutkowska, E. Hallmann, Ibidem, p. 23

    [vi] A. Szopa, P. Kubica, H. Ekiert, Ibidem, p. 149

    [vii] Biuletyn Krajowego Zrzeszenia Plantatorów Aronii „ARONIA POLSKA”, Aronia... Na zdrowie! Najkrótsza droga z krzewu na stół, 2020, p. 11-12

    Did you know that in addition to its nutritional value, fresh beef has a variety of uses in the kitchen? Everybody can appreciate its unique taste and versatility. Read more about the various types of beef produced by EU farms and learn more about how to cook it to get the most flavour out of each serving!

     

    Types of beef used in the kitchen

    Every time we mention beef, we mean unprocessed meat. Like any meat produced in the EU, it comes from well-tested beef cattle, and because of that it has unique qualities. To ensure consumer safety, the meat is also properly labelled.[i]

    Farms in the European Union produce three kinds of beef used for cooking – veal, baby beef and beef proper.[ii] The meat does not require long cooking and is suitable for consumption when it is raw (as steak tartare) or medium rare (as steak);[iii] However, the usefulness of beef does not end there – it has many more uses!

     

    Beef – how to use it in the kitchen?

    Beef is a really versatile meat and there are many uses for it in the kitchen. We decided to list them according to the various cuts:

     

    Other cuts of beef that can be roasted and braised whole are:

    Savour the taste of European beef in your kitchen!

    There is no doubt that beef is a truly versatile meat. Fresh and high-quality meat can be distinguished by its bloody-red colour, visible bright white marbling and moist surface.[iv] All these features you will find in beef from EU farms. You will surely appreciate its taste when preparing your next delicious dish!

     

     

    [i] M. Adamski, Uwarunkowania jakości wołowiny kulinarnej, AgroFakt.pl, www.agrofakt.pl/wolowina-kulinarna (retrieved on 15.07.2022)

    [ii] P. Wójcik, Prawie wszystko o wołowinie, Warsaw, 2014, p. 19

    [iii] E. Bak-Filipek, Uwarunkowania rozwoju rynku wołowiny w Polsce, Warsaw 2021, p. 85

    [iv] Ibidem, p. 23.

    Most people like staying in the nature and take full advantage of its gifts. Much attention is paid to healthy eating – you must have wondered many times whether products in shops are not harmful. The EU makes many efforts to ensure the highest quality of food while protecting the environment and the landscape. Dating back to the 1970s, the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) develops more and more effective mechanisms of control and protection5.

     

    What are the principles and goals of CAP?

    Did you know that the amount of aid for farmers in the EU totalled 58.82 billion EUR in 2019? It accounts for approx. 35% of the entire budget of more than 160 billion EUR! This allows the EU to conduct many actions providing constant access to high-quality food, such as supporting the farmers’ income, preventing climate changes and maintaining dynamic rural communities6. This shows the importance of protection of the natural environment and people living in it in the eyes of world experts.

    In order to pursue these goals, the European Union has developed good practices that every EU Member State undertakes to comply with. They refer primarily to the use of methods that minimise the adverse impact of agriculture on the surrounding nature. They include, e.g., sustainable farming, meadow maintenance or strict quality requirements of cultivations3. Hygiene standards, such as sewage management or the proper use of protective measures, are also taken care of.

     

    What proper farming practices are used in the EU?

    Since the beginning of the agreement, the main focus has been on relevant education and the satisfaction of farmers’ basic needs. Their fulfilment gives farmers an opportunity and time to gain new knowledge about more efficient farming and the protection of their nearest environment. A well-educated man gains awareness and starts to feel the need for caring about our planet.

    We can observe a high level of awareness also in the protection of waters1 – anti-contamination practices are known and used increasingly often by farmers2.

     

    Thanks to gradual and effective education and financial aid, farming activities become a sphere of protection and production of environmental public goods, thereby broadening the traditional concept of public good4. You also benefit from the consistence of these actions! The food you eat and serve to your loved ones is of better quality, and the surrounding nature can still be beautiful!

     

     

     

    Sources:
    1. Hołownicki, R., Doruchowski, G., Godyń, A., & Świechowski, W. (2011). Technika ochrony roślin w dyrektywach UE. Inżynieria Rolnicza, 15, 75-84.
    2. Jurczuk, S., Łempicka, A., & Rydałowski, M. (2008). Poziom świadomości rolników ze zlewni Utraty w zakresie zanieczyszczenia wód środkami ochrony roślin na tle wybranych zlewni w krajach UE. Woda-Środowisko-Obszary Wiejskie, 8, 45-62.
    3. Kania, J. (2006). Programy rolno-środowiskowe i zasady dobrej praktyki rolniczej jako możliwości optymalnego gospodarowania i ochrony dolin rzecznych. Infrastruktura i ekologia terenów wiejskich, (4/1).
    4. Król, M. A. (2017). Ocena modelu prawnej ochrony środowiska we Wspólnej Polityce Rolnej. Studia Iuridica Lublinensia, 26(1), 227-254. 
    5. https://www.gov.pl/web/wprpo2020/cele-wpr1
    6. https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries/key-policies/common-agricultural-policy_pl

    Currently, high-standard pig farming holds the field in the EU countries, combining modern technologies with traditional, fully balanced rearing so as to ensure the top quality and safety of pork. This is why European farming stands out among global competitors!

     

    Characteristics of a farming place.

    The location, construction and operation of livestock farms is strictly regulated by laws and requirements1 that put the farmer under an obligation to obtain various kinds of decisions and approvals and to present detailed analyses of the consequences of the environmental impact of rearing in its various stages. It is worth mentioning that high-quality EU farming should not have a negative impact on the natural environment.

     

    What high-level farming looks like – European farming standards!

    The codified Directive 2008/120/EC of 18 December 20081 helped to systematise all legal requirements relating directly to the maintenance of the high welfare of farm animals. Each farmed pig is provided with the freedom of movement. Because sows prefer social interactions with other pigs in natural conditions, they must be provided with “environmental complexity”. In order to ensure animal welfare, breeders provide them with the relevant space in which they can maintain a natural lifestyle.

     

    Why is feed given to pigs important?

    The most important thing is to ensure the high quality of feed and unlimited access to water allowing an animal to adapt consumption according to natural biological needs.

    Feed given to pigs should be fully balanced and contain nutrients that are necessary for growth and proper development. Therefore, European farming involves the use of high-quality feeds that meet the REGULATION (EC) No 183/2005 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 January 2005 laying down requirements for feed hygiene2.

    Much attention must be paid to the quality of served water. It should meet all standards for drinking water intended for human consumption.

     

    What buildings do farm animals live in?

    A farming place should constitute an area completely devoid of all obstacles. The amount of free space per animal depends, among others, on its weight. In the case of piglets or each reared pig except sows, this value ranges from 0.15 to 1.00 m2. Gilts and sows kept in groups must be provided with a surface of 1.64 m2 and 2.25 m2, respectively. The breeder should provide enough space for each animal so as to ensure the full freedom of movement. Walls of the buildings have to be adequately insulated to ensure the thermal comfort of animals. The building has to be kept clean, because the pig is a very clean animal.

    According to valid legislation1, it is prohibited to build premises in which animals are tied. Pig farm owners are required to provide animals with adequate environmental conditions, which translates into the high quality of meat. Microclimatic conditions in buildings and premises for pigs affect animals both in a physical, chemical and biological manner, thus influencing their health and production results.

     

    What does quality supervision by control bodies look like?

    For the maintenance of the highest level of farming, quality and animal welfare controls are held regularly. Each of the member states determines relevant supervisory bodies:

    – with regard to environment protection: the Environment Protection Inspectorate;

    – with regard to the protection of animal health and welfare: the Veterinary Inspectorate.

    Each breeder is required to keep detailed herd books3.

    What is exceptional about farming in the EU?

    The maintenance of pig welfare during their whole life, the ensuring of optimum conditions for their growth and the exclusive use of proven and modern technologies has raised European farming to an entirely different level. This is why pork from the EU is one of the best around the world4. European farming ensures that the living conditions of animals are as similar as possible to those in the natural environment.

    Exceptionally tasty and, more importantly, safe high-quality pork from the EU guarantees an unforgettable taste experience!

     

    Sources:

    1. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2008/120/oj Council Directive 2008/120/EC of 18 December 2008 laying down minimum standards for the protection of pigs
    2. REGULATION (EC) No 183/2005 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 January 2005 laying down requirements for feed hygiene
    3. Commission Decision 89/502/EEC of 18 July 1989 laying down the criteria governing entry in herd-books for pure-bred breeding pigs
    4. https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/food-farming-fisheries/farming/documents/pig-market-situation_en.pdf

    Do you know that the European Union is one of the world’s biggest poultrymeat producers? Annual meat production involves up to 13.5 million tons of poultry. All European farmers are obliged to comply with commercial standards that are specifically established for the needs of this market.1

     

    Poultry consumption figures

    Poultry consumption per person averages 25 kg per annum. According to research, global poultry consumption should rise by 20% within the next 20 years. It is expected that 40% of this increase will come from Asia.2. As can be seen, the demand is really huge. Last year’s Eurostat 3  data indicate that Poland is one of the biggest poultry exporters in the EU with 2.7 million tons per annum.

     

    High poultry quality

    However, production on such a huge scale is a very responsible task. After all, poultrymeat regularly appears on tables in many households every day. It is, therefore, important to ensure its highest quality. For this reason, the health and welfare of animals is a priority. On the global scene, farms controlled by the EU represent a very high level, being in the forefront with regard to standards and laws establishing detailed animal breeding guidelines.

     

    Poultry rearing farms

    Hens require mainly adequate treatment. The number of hens reared in free ranges and on litter systematically increases. One of many guidelines is the compulsory limit of 9 hens per one square meter. Moreover, each hen should have its own place on litter. Each animal must also have unlimited access to feed.

    The producers’ obligation is to report each hen rearing farm to relevant authorities in EU countries. After their analysis of conditions prevailing on the relevant farm, the production unit acquires its own number so that the origin of goods could be checked.4

     

    What kind of feed is given to hens?

    Feed for hens must be nutritionally complete and meet all of their needs. During the preparation of feed, special attention is paid to the content of metabolic energy, protein, or mineral ingredients and amino acids. Feed must be fresh and served in hygienic conditions and proper quantities. In addition, laying hens must have constant access to clean water. A mixture for hens may include such ingredients as corn, wheat, barley, fodder chalk, rapeseed oil and lentil seeds.5

     

    Quality supervision by control bodies

    The quality supervision of poultry breeding is very elaborate. It is exercised by committees consisting of government representatives chaired by a representative of the European Commission. Regular meetings are held to discuss all aspects of breeding. All committees and groups created for this purpose can be found on the EU’s official website: ec.europa.eu.6

     

    As you can see, the level of poultry breeding in Europe is really high. We owe this to numerous legal regulations and continuous improvements. The welfare of farm animals is our priority, which ensures the safety and high quality of produced goods.

     

     

    Sources:

    1 - eur-lex.europa.eu (marketing standards for poultrymeat)

    2 - wattagnet.com (Asian and global poultry consumption)

    3 - eurostat.ec (poultry production)

    4 - ec.europa.eu (hen rearing farms)

    5 - agrofakt.pl (hen feed)

    6 - ec.europa.eu (quality supervision)

    EU’s priorities in fields and orchards.

     

    European high cultivation standards and modern production methods translate directly into the quality and safety of European fruit and vegetables.

    The nutritional value and the taste of European fruit and vegetables is an important priority of the European Union. According to European standards, fruit and vegetables on the market are nourishing and grow in a proper and strictly regulated manner.

     

    According to the Eurostat data, fruit cultivation occupies the area of 2.8 million hectares in the EU.

    Further 2.1 million hectares are set aside for vegetables.

     

    Taking the production volume into account, the apple could become a symbol of EU agriculture.

     

    This fruit represents the biggest crops in the EC!

    In 2020, apple crops in the EU totalled 10,711,000 tons.

    In the same year, estimated apple production in Poland was 17% higher than last year (i.e., 3.4 million tons).

    The most popular vegetable is the tomato – last year’s crops totalled ca. 18.5 million tons, which means 36 kg per capita within the EU.

    In 2018, according to the Eurostat data, Poland was the second largest producer of blueberry in the EU, with a share of 24% in the EU’s crops. The growth of these crops started after Poland’s accession to the EU. From that time until the last year, blueberry crops rose from 4,000 tons to over 25,000 tons.

     

     

    Scientific field in European farmland.

     

    The cultivation of vegetable plants in the EU draws upon results of long-year cultivation work of European and world scientists on plant varieties differing in terms of usability for various purposes (consumption of raw products, storage, processing), harvesting (earliness and size of crops), thermal requirements or resistance to diseases and pest.

    Plants are cultivated using various methods: in the field, in greenhouses and film-covered hothouses, drawing, cultivation from seeding in a permanent place or transplanting. Various treatment methods aimed at increasing and improving the quality of crops (e.g., spotlighting of plants, irrigation), new storage methods (cold storage with controlled atmosphere) and various means of production of domestic and foreign origin are used.3

     

    Fruit and vegetables from the European Union produced with passion and experience by our farmers are a safe and tasty high-quality choice!

     

    Sources: