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CAFIA started inspections of burčák three weeks later this year


The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) started with inspections of burčák and partly fermented grape must (PFGM) approximately 2 or 3 weeks later compared to previous seasons. The reason for that is in particular later vintage of grapes due to climatic effects and thus later beginning of sale of this commodity. The first inspection of this year was carried out on 26th August and intensive inspections have been carrying out since the first half of September.

CAFIA inspectors have checked the total of 94 selling places of burčák and PFGM so far, and in 24 cases took samples for a laboratory analysis.

The inspectors detected violation of legislation in 20 cases related in particular to labelling (violation of, inter alia, indication of producer, origin of grapes or allergens is concerned), missing of accompanying documentation, misuse of traditional term “burčák” (the product is made in the CR, but from imported grapes), etc.

The results of laboratory-evaluated samples have not been available yet, because the analysed samples must first be allowed to ferment naturally, which is a process requiring up to six weeks.

In the last season of 2020, CAFIA carried out the total of 320 inspections of burčák and PFGM sale points and took 59 samples for analyses into the laboratory. Out of these samples, 5 failed due to inadequate alcohol content. Furthermore, the inspectors evaluated 2 samples as unsatisfactory directly at the place of sale, in both cases the volume of the served product was measured and did not correspond to the offered quantity.

Summary of all compliant as well as non-compliant samples assessed within the inspection activity is released on the Food Pillory.

In the previous season 2019, CAFIA checked 290 places selling burčák and PFGM, the inspectors took 61 samples, out of which 10 failed, in 2018 they took 44 samples, out of which 5 failed, in 2017, 51 samples were assessed and 7 of them failed, and finally 69 samples were assessed in the laboratory in 2016, out of which 4 failed to comply.

The inspectors check sellers and producers, especially those whose samples failed to comply with the requirements of legislation in the past and also new sellers offering their products mostly at stalls. This sampling is also increasingly carried out on the basis of consumers’ suggestions.

During the inspection of burčák and PFGM, CAFIA focuses, inter alia, on so-called sensory requirements – the inspector assesses taste, aroma and color of the beverage on the spot as well as labelling of the goods for consumers, related accompanying documentation showing the origin of goods, and hygiene of sale.

After a sample is taken, the CAFIA laboratory in Brno, by means of values of isotope ratio of stable isotopes of hydrogen measured on nuclear magnetic resonance and isotope ratio of stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon measured on mass spectrometer verifies the geographical origin of grapes from which burčák was made. Other parameters are also checked, for example presence of synthetic color, ethanol from added sugar, amount of added water, alcohol or sulphur dioxide content, etc.

Burčák is a traditional denomination protected by national legislation of which use is authorised for partly fermented must produced from grapes harvested and processed in the Czech Republic in the given year and the selling season is limited by period starting on 1st August and ending on 30th November. A product of the same parameters but made from grapes harvested outside the territory of the Czech Republic could be sold under denomination “partly fermented grape must”, not “burčák”. Possible misuse of the traditional denomination – burčák is regarded as misleading of consumers. In such cases CAFIA initiates an administrative procedure and imposes fines.


Article by: Mgr. Pavel Kopřiva – CAFIA Spokesperson, phone:+420 542 426 633 

16th September 2021