Information

Typical Italian products: Mussel from Scardovari DOP

Typical Italian products: Mussel from Scardovari DOP

Production area

CE recognition: 2013
Production area:

Features

The Cozza di Scardovari corresponds to the allochthonous species Mytilus galloprovincialis, bivalve mollusk with an elongated shape and a black-violet shell; the valves are rounded, almost triangular in shape and have thin concentric streaks. The collection of Mussels from Scardovari takes place from the moment the product reaches the minimum marketable size of 5 cm; specimens longer than 10 cm are quite frequent. The entire production process is managed by the Consorzio Cooperative Pescatori del Polesine, one of the largest Italian and European companies in the breeding and marketing of mussels.
The Cozza di Scardovari is produced with herds on poles within an area of ​​12 hectares given under concession inside the Sacca degli Scardovari, a vast body of water between the mouths of the Po di Gnocca and Po delle Tolle. It is a transitional lagoon environment where mussel farming has been practiced since the late 1960s, today reaching high levels of productivity, thanks to the concomitance of environmental factors that make this area particularly suitable for this activity.
In the open sea, off the Rosolina and Scardovari areas, it is bred over a total area of ​​1600 hectares, in floating plants (off-shore) with suspension farming systems (long-line).

Mussel from Scardovari DOP

Production specification - Cozza di Scardovari DOP

Article 1
NAME
The Protected Designation of Origin "Cozza di Scardovari DOP" is reserved for the mussel belonging to the species "Mytilus galloprovincialis" which meets the conditions and requirements
established in this production specification.

Article 2
PRODUCT CHARACTERISTICS
Biological characteristics
The "Cozza di Scardovari" is a bivalve mollusk with an elongated shape and a black-violet shell. The valves are rounded, equal in shape almost triangular and have thin concentric streaks. Inside, the color is purple-pearly and this can vary in relation to the production cycle and gender. Very robust brown filaments emerge from the shell, constituting the "fine linen" gland, through which the animal attaches itself to the nets called "remains" or other supports. The valves close thanks to adductor muscles, to a hinge and to an elastic, narrow elongated brownish color.
Chemical-physical and organoleptic characteristics
The Cozza di Scardovari has the following peculiarities deriving from the production environment such as:
 condition index, which measures the state of fullness of the edible part of the mollusc with respect to the whole organism, greater than 25%;
 peculiar sweetness of the meat thanks to the low sodium content (210 mg / 100 gr);
 particularly soft and dark meats with high palability.
These peculiar characteristics distinguish the Cozza di Scardovari from similar products, coming from other areas and from offshore farms.

Article 3
PRODUCTION AREA
The breeding area of ​​Cozza di Scardovari is the Sacca di Scardovari, located in the municipality of Porto Tolle, in the province of Rovigo.). The term "Sacca" identifies the marine inlet formed by the partial occlusion of an arm of the sea, which remains in communication with the open sea through a lagoon "mouth".
The Sacca di Scardovari is located in the southern area of ​​the Po Delta, between the branches of the Po di Tolle in the north-east and the Po di Gnocca in the south-west, and delimited to the south by the following geographic coordinates Gauss-Boaga Fuso Ovest, which identify the two forane delimitation points of the Bag from the Adriatic Sea:
 4971445.99 N - 1773953.45 E
 4967536.31 N - 1770965.25 E
Since the purification, processing and packaging phases involve the use of water from the Sacca di Scardovari, they must be carried out in plants located in the territory in the 3 hamlets of Scardovari, Ca 'Mello and Santa Giulia in the municipality of Porto Tolle. This is in order both to maintain the peculiarities derived from the production environment, and to guarantee the vitality and freshness of the product and preserve its quality through the speed of execution times.

Article 4
ELEMENTS SUPPORTING THE GEOGRAPHICAL ORIGIN OF THE PRODUCT
Each phase of the production process is monitored by documenting the inputs and outputs for each. In this way, and through the registration of producers, managers of purification plants and packers in special lists managed by the control structure, as well as through the timely reporting to the control structure of the quantities produced, the traceability of the product is guaranteed. All natural and legal persons registered in the relative lists are subject to control by the control structure, according to the provisions of the production disciplinary and the related control plan.

Article 5
DESCRIPTION OF THE METHOD OF OBTAINING THE PRODUCT
Seed collection
The seed is collected by scraping the submerged surfaces, fishing on natural banks in the Saccadi Scardovari or by capturing the sowing that is fixed on ropes or special collectors positioned in the sea farms overlooking the Po Delta. The birth of the seed destined for the production of the Cozza di Scardovari, comes also from other lagoon or marine areas of natural collection of the Mytilus galloprovincialis species. The seed must be selected to have dimensions between 1 and 3 cm.
Sowing activity and seed growth
Sowing and seed growth can only be carried out in nurseries within the Scardovari bag which, with its environmental characteristics, determines the peculiarities of the final product.
Each producer prepares the remains with the seed and places them in water in order to have a density of 5 -15 units per m2. The leftovers are made up of a variable mesh net that acts as a support for the mussel so that the "byssus" is fixed on a stable surface.
The prepared remains are immersed in water at a depth of about 1.5 m, supported by scaffolding suitably arranged to form a nursery.
The renewal of the nets to form a remnant occurs 2-4 times during the growth period and these operations are carried out manually in order to thin out the mussels, clean them from the epibionts and select the mussels by differentiating them by size to form new remnants.
Product collection
The collection of Mussels from Scardovari takes place from the moment the product reaches the minimum marketable size of 5 cm.
The collection of Mussels in the rests is manual and is carried out by the staff who manages the nursery on a traditional basis. The product is shelled and calibrated with the aid of a machine in the typical "cavane", houses on stilts located along the embankment of the bag, and is placed in special bags and identified with a label placed inside the bag itself that bears the number manufacturer ID.
Product delivery
The delivery of the collected and bagged product must be carried out at the defined landing points, and located in the area referred to in art. 3, in order to verify the quality of the product delivered.
From the disembarkation points, the product is transported to the purification systems referred to in Article 3, with means equipped with an isothermal container of smooth, washable, disinfectable and refrigerating unit in order to prevent the product from being subject to temperature changes or contamination. The transport temperature must be kept below 20 ° C in order to maintain the vitality of the product thus making the subsequent purification process effective.
Treatment
The purification process must be carried out through the passage of a semi-closed flow of water using special containers in which the mussels are inserted, using the water from the Sacca di Scardovari purified according to current legislation and maintained at a temperature below 20 ° C in order to guarantee the obtainment of a purified product, with low sodium content and which maintains the freshness and qualities derived from the production environment.
Product selection and packaging
At the end of the purification phase, the product is transferred to packaging.
The packaging process consists of a series of both manual and automatic operations which include:
 a washing system;
 an inspection, control and elimination system for empty shells and unsuitable material;
 a system for weighing and dosing the product to obtain the various formats.
In order to guarantee the vitality, the freshness and the hygienic-sanitary characteristics of the product, to preserve its peculiar quality, to guarantee the control to avoid fraud related to the mixing of mussels from other production areas, the product has always been packaged inside the chain. process after leaving the purification tanks.
Storage and shipping
The packaged product is placed in the cell at a temperature between 2 and 8 ° C and sent for shipment within 48 hours. The means of transport can present a layer of ice on the floor of the load compartment, under the pallets, in order to guarantee the maintenance of the suitable temperature conditions inside the vehicle. In each case during transport, the driver is obliged to check the correct storage temperature of the product (between + 2 and + 6 ° C) on the thermostat.

Article 6.
ELEMENTS THAT PROVIDE THE LINK WITH THE ENVIRONMENT
Historical factors
The first local fishermen's cooperative of the Sacca di Scardovari dates back to 1936. The transformation of the territory in the last century has been very rapid, both thanks to the hand of man, and due to anthropic and natural factors, and the current configuration of the Sacca di Scardovari the flood of 1966 was reached. It was from this moment that the experimentation of mussel farming in small nurseries inside the Sacca began, as an alternative to sea fishing, as also testified by the report of the Board of Directors of the cooperativapescatori, regarding the 80's mussel treatment plant in Scardovari.
A scientific report from the provincial administration of Rovigo in 1972 testifies to the production techniques and the particular growth of the mussels obtained in the Sacca diScardovari.
Other scientific publications from 1977 and a graduation thesis from 1979 attest to the study of population dynamics and production peculiarities of Cozza di Scardovari.
The renown of the name and the product, as early as the 1980s, is documented by photos at the parties of the Scardovari Concourse. Today the production of mussels from the Sacca di Scardovari is an important reality, which involves many operators and family businesses and the product is known by consumers both in Italy and in other European countries.
Environmental factors
The Sacca di Scardovari is located in the southern area of ​​the Po Delta and occupies an area of ​​about 3,000 ha with a maximum depth of 3 m. The Po Delta is the largest wetland in Italy whose peculiarity and environmental value have been recognized internationally (Ramsar Convention, 1971). The meeting of fresh water currents with the sea, subject to high tide cycles, is very important as it ensures the continuous supply of oxygen and the constant exchange of water useful for the well-being of these bivalves.
The particular environmental conditions of the Sacca di Scardovari which in the production period are suitable for growth and characterize the peculiarity of the "Cozza di Scardovari", are mainly:
 The shallow waters, originated from river debris, which allow to guarantee:
- an average temperature higher than in the sea areas;
- good oxygenation, also thanks to the alternation of the tides in the area;
- good diffusion of light throughout the water column.
 The introduction of the fresh waters of the Po river which entail a substantial supply of nutrients and reduces the saline concentration of the area, lowering the salinity range present in the Sacca di Scardovari to values ​​varying between 10 ‰ and 30 ‰ with an average of around 20 ‰. This value is well below the average salinity of sea water which is around 35 ‰.
These particular environmental conditions affect the high phytoplanktonic productivity and the richness of organic particulate matter in suspension of the area, a factor that most influences the rapid growth of the bivalves so that only after eight / nine months after the seed has passed, the molluscs reach commercial size.
The particularly suitable environment also allows to have a product of excellent quality both from an organoleptic and nutritional point of view and for the excellent total weight / weight ratio of the meat.
These environmental factors, added to the particular production techniques and traditional breeding methods, are the ideal prerequisites for the rapid growth of the molluscs, the considerable development of the edible part and therefore the peculiar fullness of the meat in the shell detected by the high level of condition.
The low salinity of the lagoon waters allows to have a product with a content of sodionella and its meat, clearly lower than that present in bivalves bred in the sea (as shown by comparisons with the national INRAN data) and from this derives a food with a flavor much more delicate, less salty than that coming from farms at sea and which contributes to the sweetness of meat.
Furthermore, the high availability, in organic and nutritional substances, of total lipids and in particular saturated and monounsaturated fatty diacids, determine the particular softness and palability of the meaty carnides raised in Sacca di Scardovari.
Human factors
The breeding is of a family nature or in associative form and involves a mainly manual processing whose traditional technique is handed down from father to son, and especially characterizes some manual phases of the production process. They consist essentially in the various network renewal operations, aimed in particular at the separation and thinning of the mussels, the elimination of the epibionts and the selection of the mussels by differentiating them by size in order to form new "remains". These operations allow a greater and more uniform development of mussels and a quality control of them.
The professionalism of the operators is also expressed in the traditional preparation of the nurseries for mussel breeding. The nurseries are more or less rectangular fixed structures, consisting of poles that emerge from the water, connected with a cable to which are suspended, with the help of ropes, the variable mesh net stockings, called "remains". In the "remains" are inserted the small mussels known as the gland of the "byssus" are fixed permanently and use it as a support.

Article 7
CONTROL STRUCTURE
The control of product compliance with the specification is carried out by a control structure, as established in article 11 of EC regulation no. 510/2006. This structure is the control body CSQA Certificazioni Srl - Via San Gaetano, 74 - 36016 Thiene (VI) - ITALY - Tel. + 39-0445-313012 - Fax + 39-0445-313070 - e-mail: csqa @ csqa. en.

Article 8.
PACKAGING AND LABELING
Packaging and marketing
The Cozza di Scardovari, at the time of marketing, must have a dark shell resistant to percussion; it is marketed live (in closed packs of mesh, vacuum-packed or in a protective atmosphere) or processed (frozen with or without shell).
The packaging for the "Cozza di Scardovari DOP" - closed mesh bags or plastic or other suitable material - must be sealed in such a way that the opening of the packaging leads to the breaking of the seal or the package itself.
On the label the words "Cozza di Scardovari" and "Protected Designation of Origin" must be indicated, which can be replaced with the acronym DOP. In addition, the "Cozza di Scardovari" PDO logo and the Community graphic symbol of the PDO must be reproduced.
The distinctive logo of the "Cozza di Scardovari DOP" is composed of an open mussel of blue color inside an irregularly shaped heart with blue margins.
The orange edible part is drawn in the right valve of the mussel.
Externally to the heart in the upper left part there is the writing "D.O.P." orange, while in the left lateral external area there is the writing "MUSSEL OF SCARDOVARI" in blue.
The font of the font used in the logo is the "Trebuchet MS Bold", the percentage of the writing compared to the logo is about 40%.


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