Over the past few years, an eco-lifestyle has become massively popular all around the world. It is mainly related to food; however, some store shelves are full of products that are anything but ''eco''.
The same situation has been happening in Croatia as well. There are many products with ''the original Croatian'' and ''Croatian quality'' labels, but unfortunately, currently there is no adequate laboratory in the country to determine whether these products are really of Croatian origin.
However, things may change after all in the near future. A kind of CSI for food will be established in the country to determine whether Croatian citizens are buying food from Croatia or not.
The Institute of Public Health ''Dr Andrija Stampar'' and the Faculty of Agriculture are expected to build and equip the Centre for Food Safety and Quality with European money next year. Thus, for the first time in Croatia and by using isotopic analysis, the centre will determine whether the product is really of Croatian origin and from which part of the country it originates.
''Each region, each area has a unique natural barcode, i.e. a characteristic ratio of isotopes of characteristic elements such as oxygen, hydrogen and carbon from the organic component which then undoubtedly demonstrates that the product is grown in that area'', explained Sandra Sikic, the deputy director of the Institute of Public Health ''Dr Andrija Stampar''.
This product testing is mainly related to 80 products bearing the ''original Croatian'' label. The labels are designated by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), whilst the Centre will have a double role.
''The testing will improve the quality control of food for the benefit of consumers, whilst on the other hand, the producers will be protected against possible counterfeit products'', commented Martina Sokac Saraga from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.
The result of the tender for the project within the EU funds is expected by the end of this year. If approved, the construction of the Centre would start at the beginning of next year.