policy and rural development
and Geographical Indications
for the protection of food products
whose characteristics are based on geographical
"Regulation no. 2081/92 of 14
July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin
for agricultural products and foodstuffs"
Regulation no. 2081/92 of
14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of
origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, completed by R 2037/93 of 27
July 1993 defining the application procedures. This regulation establishes a system
whose aim is to inform consumers when the name of an agricultural product or foodstuff
is registered at Community level as a protected designation of origin or a protected
geographical indication. The regulation was amended by the following measures:
R 1428/97 of 24 July 1997 and R 1726/98 of 11 August 1998.
In relation to
- Decision no. 53/93 of 21 December 1992 on the appointment of
a scientific committee for designations of origin, geographical indications and
certificates of specific character, amended by Decision 437/94 of 14 June 1994
(which is more specific about the Committee's operations).
93/C273/05 to the operators concerned by designations of origin and geographical
indications, informing them about the procedure of Article 17 of R 2081/92.
to annex II of Regulation no. 2081/92 (agricultural products):
no. 535/97 of 17 March 1997, which enables the Commission to amend annex II of
Regulation (EEC) no. 2081/92 (agricultural products) for the regulatory committee.
It also amends the provisions governing the period of transition.
no. 1068/97 of 13 June 1997, which expands the list of agricultural products falling
within the scope of application of Regulation (EEC) no. 2081/92, including on
this list "cork" and "cochineal".
Regulation no. 2796/2000
of 21 December 2000, which expands the list of agricultural products falling within
the scope of application of Regulation (EEC) no. 2081/92, including on this list
"ornamental flowers and plants".
- Establish common rules on the
protection of geographical indications and designations of origin in order to
develop certain specific quality products from a distinct geographical area.
Encourage the diversification of agricultural products as part of rural development.
Definitions and conditions of registration
regulation is limited to agricultural products and certain foodstuffs for which
there is a link between the characteristics of the product and its geographical
origin. It does not apply to products of the winemaking sector or to beverages
The regulation makes a distinction between two categories of
protected names: designations of origin and geographical indications. The difference
between these two categories is the way in which and the extent to which the product
is connected to the defined geographical area whose name the product carries.
The regulation also defines generic names that may not be protected because the
products bearing these names can be produced anywhere, even if the now common
name was initially connected with a geographical area.
of Origin (PDO)
This applies to products very closely associated with
a region whose name they bear.
To benefit from a "Protected Designation
of Origin" (PDO), two conditions must be fulfilled:
- the production
of the raw material and its processing all the way to the finished product must
occur in the defined region whose name the product bears;
- the quality
and features of the product must essentially or exclusively be the result of the
geographical environment of the product's place of origin. "Geographical
environment" is understood to mean the natural and human factors, for example
the climate, quality of the soil or local know-how.
Geographical Indication (PGI)
This also applies to products attached to
the region whose name they bear, but the connection is not as close or is of an
entirely different nature than in the case of the PDO. To benefit from a "Protected
Designation of Origin" (PDO), a product must also fulfil two conditions:
must have been produced in the geographical region whose name it bears, but unlike
the PDO, only one of the phases of production need occur in the defined area (the
raw material may come from another region, for example);
- there must be
a link between the product and the region whose name it bears. However, this characteristic,
unlike in the case of the PDO, does not necessarily have to be predominant or
exclusive (the name of the product, for example, need only enjoy a particular
reputation based on its geographical origin when applying for registration).
The registration procedure is
the same for the PDO and PGI. Registration is at Community level.
of producers and/or processors may apply to register a product name, but there
are exemptions for natural or legal persons (if the person is the only one to
use certain local production processes and if the defined area is clearly different
from neighbouring areas, or if the product is different from the other products).
group must clearly indicate in its application the kind of geographical name it
wants for its product: Protected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical
A list of specifications must be included with the application.
These specifications must include at least the following: the name of the product;
its description (raw materials, main physical, chemical, microbiological and/or
organoleptic characteristics); the exact borders of the geographical area; the
method of production; the elements justifying the link with the place of origin;
the references concerning the inspection structure or structures; the specific
labelling elements related to the equivalent traditional national indication or
indications; any requirements that need to be met.
The application must be sent to the Member State of the geographical area from
which the product comes. The Member State has to check that the application is
in order and forwards it to the other Member States and the Commission. The Commission
examines the application and publishes it in the Official Journal of the European
Communities. If no objection is made to the application within a period of six
months, the "PGI" or "PDO" is entered in a register kept by
the Commission. If there is an objection, the Commission examines the reasons
given before reaching a decision.
An inspection body that is sufficiently
objective and impartial checks whether the product meets the conditions established
by the specifications. If the producer / processor of the product does not comply
with the specifications, this body takes away the right to use the PGI or PDO.
Any Member State may claim that a product no longer satisfies the conditions established
by the specifications. In this case, the Commission will decide whether to suspend
or withdraw the PGI or PDO.
A non-EU country may apply to register a name
in its area according to a similar procedure.
The regulation provides for a simplified procedure for names protected
at national level before 26 January 1994: the Member State could within six months
of the entry into force of the regulation (27 July 93) inform the Commission which
of the names among the legally protected designations (or among the designations
based on custom, for Member States where there is no system of protection) it
wanted to register under the regulation. The Commission received about 1400 applications
The registered PGI and PDO
names are legally protected against any abusive use or false or misleading indication.
The Member States can maintain national protection of names reported until a decision
is made on the registration.
Relations with countries outside
the European Union
The Commission has the power to negotiate agreements
with third countries for the reciprocal protection of names.
Composed of 7 full members and 7 alternate members chosen by
the Commission among PDO/PGI experts, the scientific committee examines the technical
and legal problems of applying the regulations.
Regulation no. 1726/98 defines the terms for using a PDO or PGI logo.
"Food products of specific
"Green Europe" Collection. 1/96. European Commission,
Directorate-General for Information, Communication, Culture, Audiovisual Policy,
Unit A4 "Relays and Information Networks", Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049
Additional sources of information
DG AGRI AII.3
200 rue de la Loi
+32 2 295 68 46
Fax: +32 2 296 12 71