Agricultural products produced in the European Union (EU) reflect the rich diversity of different traditions and regions in Europe. To help protect and promote products with particular characteristics linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional products, the EU created quality logos, named "Protected Designation of Origin", "Protected Geographical Indication" and "Traditional Speciality Guaranteed".
EU quality schemes for agricultural products
Through the EU quality schemes, the common agriculture policy (CAP) provides tools to help highlight the qualities and tradition associated with registered products and to assure consumers that these are the genuine products, not imitations seeking to benefit from the good name and reputation of the original. As a result, these schemes and their logos help producers/groups of producers market their products better, while providing them legal protection from misuse or falsification of a product name. In broader terms, Geographical Indications are part of the wider intellectual properties rights (IPR) of the European Union.
In concrete terms, the EU product quality schemes relate to agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines, spirits and aromatised wines, which producers or producer groups have registered according to the rules. The EU promotes quality schemes with campaigns such as "Tastes of Europe". There are also a number of optional quality terms, and separate rules on organic farming.
A product name identified as a geographical indication is one that is closely linked to a specific production area. This concept encompasses protected designations of origin (PDOs) and protected geographical indications (PGIs) for foods and wines, while spirits and aromatised wines have geographical indications.
Protected Designation of Origin -PDO- identifies products that are produced, processed and prepared in a specific geographical area, using the recognised know-how of local producers and ingredients from the region concerned. These are products whose characteristics are linked to their geographical origin. They must adhere to a precise set of specifications and may bear the PDO logo below.
Examples: Bordeaux PDO (France, wine), Cava PDO (Spain, wine), Manouri PDO (Greece, cheese), Tiroler Bergkäse PDO (Austria, cheese), Prés-salés du Mont-Saint-Michel PDO (France, fresh meat product) or Pistacchio verde di Bronte PDO (Italy, fruit).
Protected Geographical Indication -PGI- identifies products whose quality or reputation is linked to the place or region where it is produced, processed or prepared, although the ingredients used need not necessarily come from that geographical area. All PGI products must also adhere to a precise set of specifications and may bear the logo below.
Examples : Liliputas PGI (Lithuania, cheese), Gofio canario PGI (Spain, cereals product), Walbecker Spargel PGI (Germany, vegetable), České pivo PGI (Czech Republic, beer), Lammefjordskartofler PGI (Denmark, vegetable) or Primorska PGI (Slovenia, wine).
There is also a third label, the traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG), which is not a geographical indication as such, but focuses the spotlight on tradition.
Traditional Speciality Guaranteed – TSG- identifies products of a traditional character, either in the composition or means of production, without a specific link to a particular geographical area.
Examples: Kriek TSG (Belgium, beer), Hollandse maatjesharing TSG (Netherlands, fish product), File Elena TSG (Bulgaria, meat product) or Prekmurska gibanica TSG (Slovenia, cake).
Names and details of products registered – there are more than 3 300 - under the different schemes are listed in the following databases:
DOOR ("Database Of Origin & Registration") includes product names for foodstuffs registered as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG) as well as names for which registration has been applied.
E-SPIRIT DRINKS is a database on geographical indications protected in the European Union for spirit drinks originating in Member States and third countries as well as new applications for protection.
Geographical indications for aromatised wine products protected in the European Union.
Quality schemes are backed by EU marketing standards (Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007), laying down product definitions and categories, minimum characteristics and labelling requirements to be respected on the EU single market.
In addition, European Commission maintains a regular dialogue with stakeholders on all matters related to quality and promotion in the civil dialogue group on quality and promotion.
More information on related EU policies: