Meat may only bear the red-white-red AMA Quality Seal if the animals were born, fattened, slaughtered and cut in Austria. A comparable comprehensive origin regulation also applies to milk and milk products such as cheese or yoghurt. Here too, the animals need to live on Austrian farms and be milked there. Processing needs to take place in a domestic dairy for products with the red-white-red AMA Quality Seal. For eggs with the red-white-red AMA Quality Seal: they are laid on a domestic farm, sorted and packaged there. Fruit, vegetables and potatoes which are labelled with the red-white-red AMA Quality Seal are exclusively grown in domestic fields, orchards and greenhouses.
Even for foods with the red-white-red AMA Quality Seal which consist of more than one ingredient, all the defining agricultural ingredients come exclusively from Austria. Ingredients for such foods may only come from another country in exceptional cases – such as, if an ingredient is not produced in Austria or not produced in market-relevant quantities. “Classics” are bananas or strawberries in fruit yogurt or pepper in sausage or liver dumplings.
There are many brands and logos on foodstuffs. The AMA Quality Seal and the AMA Organic Seal have a unique position: they are awarded based on a statutory mandate held by AMA. The underlying guidelines have to be approved by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management BML.
The guidelines are decided in expert committees. These are composed of experts from the fields of agriculture, processing, trade and AMA marketing. All guideline decisions are presented to a steering committee which represents the social and economic interests of Austrian society (social partner). Finally, the guidelines require the approval of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management BML.
- Higher requirements than the law or Food Code
- Milk, meat, fruit, vegetables, eggs and other foodstuffs without ingredients: 100% domestic origin
- For meat: Birth, feeding, slaughtering, butchering of the animal, 100% in Austria
- Compound foodstuffs: Value-determining agricultural raw materials come 100% from within Austria (e.g. 100% milk from Austria in yogurt). The same applies to the ingredients. Only ingredients which don’t grow here, are not available or are not of the right quality may be obtained from other countries
- Independent monitoring crosslinked from the farm to the counter, currently around 15,000 on-site controls, 10,000 laboratory analyses
- Consistent supervisory inspections
Monitoring from the field and barn to the counter
In order to offer consumers the greatest safety, every level of the food chain – from the farmer to the grocery store – is involved. Even the upstream feed production is recorded by the Quality Seal monitoring system. The AMA Quality Seal has a unique position: it has a legal basis and all monitoring is carried out by independent supervisory bodies.
The monitoring system in the AMA Quality Seal programmes is threefold. The first stage is “self-monitoring” where the responsibility lies with the participating company and needs to be regularly carried out and documented. The second stage is “external monitoring”. It is conducted by an independent, accredited inspection company. The strict requirements of the AMA Quality Seal production are checked on the basis of specified checklists. The third stage is “supervisory monitoring” and serves to check the external monitoring and to evaluate the guidelines. It is carried out by AMA Marketing staff or independent experts.
If deviations are detected during the monitoring, sanctions are imposed depending on the severity of the violation. They range from the obligation to immediately remedy the deficiency to expulsion from the AMA Quality Seal programme.
Around 15,000 on-site controls are carried out every year, of which around 3,000 alone are in slaughterhouses, butchery plants and food retailers. As well as this, 10,000 product analyses give the assurance that AMA quality is in a product if the AMA Quality Seal is on it. For the AMA team this means around 50 inspections per working day.
Standards for different products
The AMA Quality Seal for our European neighbours
The AMA Quality Seal programme is a success story. At the heart of the programme are guidelines, whose provisions exceed the statutory requirements. Compliance with these guidelines is monitored by independent bodies. Moreover, the origin of raw ingredients and their place of processing is traceable.
Participation in the AMA Quality Seal programme is open to all European Union member states. The guidelines do not differ from the guidelines of the red-white-red AMA Quality seal; the origin will be indicated with different colours.