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Agricultural policy and rural development

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Protected Designations of Origin
and Geographical Indications

Community system for the protection of food products
whose characteristics are based on geographical origin

 

 

Official title

"Regulation no. 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs"



Legal references

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 this:

  • 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).

  • Communication 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.

Amendment to annex II of Regulation no. 2081/92 (agricultural products):
Regulation 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.

Regulation 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".



Objectives

  • 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

The 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 and spirits.

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.

Protected Designations 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.



Protected 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:

  • it 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).



Implementation

The registration procedure is the same for the PDO and PGI. Registration is at Community level.

Only groups 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).

The group must clearly indicate in its application the kind of geographical name it wants for its product: Protected Designation of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication.

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.

 

Normal procedure
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.



Accelerated 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 for this.

 

Protection granted
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.



Scientific committee
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.


Logos
Regulation no. 1726/98 defines the terms for using a PDO or PGI logo.



Communication means

"Food products of specific quality".
"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 Brussels.



Additional sources of information

European Commission
DG AGRI AII.3
200 rue de la Loi
B-1049 Brussels.
Tel: +32 2 295 68 46
Fax: +32 2 296 12 71




last update: 07/01


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