TUNISIA: A quality label for the typical Tunisian harissa




Several harissa companies representing a third of national production are certified


In Tunisia labels for typical local products are starting to make headway. Now harissa, a flagship product of Tunisia, which dates back to the seventeenth century, is also protected by a quality label. Five leading Tunisian companies, representing a third of the national production of harissa in 2015, are already certified with the "Food Quality Label Tunisia". On Friday January 22nd 2016, the Tunisian Minister of Industry, Mr. Zakaria Hamad, awarded five companies – Sicam, Jouda, Comocap (Petit Paris), Carthage Food (Cap d’Or) and Sticap– with certificates, while recalling that Tunisia has introduced agribusiness policies to improve quality and inclusive development. In this context, the promotion of local products represents a major opportunity.

The real Tunisian Harissa is a spicy sauce made with red peppers and seasoned with garlic, salt, caraway and coriander. It is an ingredient in a majority of Tunisian dishes, but is used more and more as a condiment in dishes from international cuisine such as pasta, soups and grilled meats.

But international success has also attracted imitators. Foreign companies producing hot sauces choose to call their products "harissa" even when the list of ingredients includes tomatoes, sugar or vinegar.

To protect harissa as a product of Tunisian soil, the "Food Quality Label Tunisia" was launched by the Tunisian government. The label that is found on certified canned Tunisian harissa is a guarantee of the product's origin, traditional recipe and especially the quality and freshness of its special ingredients. The quality label also meets the need for better organization of the sector and a fair return for Tunisian farmers.

Efforts to promote the "Food Quality Label Tunisia" on the market have already begun. The new label was presented to the public at EXPO Milan in Italy, the Swiss competition of local food products as well as at Anuga in Germany.

Management and promotion of the harissa quality label is handled by the Tunisian Group for Canned Food Products (GICA) with support from the Project for Market Access of Typical Food Products (PAMPAT), which is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of the Swiss Confederation (SECO) and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with the Tunisian Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Agriculture.

For more information, please contact

PAMPAT project: pampattunis@unido.org

GICA: gica@gica.tn

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