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Brussels, 15 February 2011

Background note: 1000th quality food name registered

What are the Quality Food Schemes?

The Commission (DG AGRI) has operated two registers for agricultural product and foodstuff names since 1992:

  • Register for protected designations of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indications (PGI).

  • Register for traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG)

The registers contain names of agricultural products and foodstuffs, including cheese, hams, meat, fruit and vegetables, as well as olive oils, dairy products, beers, bakery products, spices, coffee, and condiments1. The names and scheme logos can only be used to describe authentic product corresponding to the specification laid down. In this way, the EU schemes identify and protect the names of quality agricultural products and foods.

The PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) is used for products with a strong link to the defined geographical area where they are produced; a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) denotes a products linked to a geographical area where at least one production step has taken place. The Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG) scheme emphasises the product's traditional composition and traditional mode of production.

For more information:

How are the 1000 registered names divided…?

… between schemes?

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

… between countries?

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED
Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

… between products?

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

What is the value of production of PDOs and PGIs?

A study from the Commission showed that the PDO-PGI products had had a wholesale turnover of more than 14 billion euros in 2007:

million euro












meat and meat products












fruit and vegetables






bakery products






fish products






olive oil






other products












Wholesale value of agricultural products and foodstuffs (excluding wines and spirit drinks; includes beers and other beverages) sold under PDO and PGI designations

Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED

How did DG AGRI compile the list of 1000?

The ‘1000 PDOs-PGIs-TSGs’ refers to 1000 separate entries in the PDO-PGI and TSG Registers. Some entries contain two or more versions of the name (for example where a national language and regional language are used to name the product). In addition, some entries refer to a range of distinct products. Each entry in the register, even if it comprises multiple names or covers multiple products, is counted as one.

The list of names does change over time: at the request of producers, some names are amended and some are cancelled. But overall the total number of register entries has seen continuous growth.

The dates given (the ‘last reference date’) are generated by the database. These are mostly the dates of registration, but later dates are used in case a name has been officially amended.

How many more registrations are in train?

A further 16 names are ready for entry into the registers, the final step being translation of the registration regulations into the 22 EU official languages for publication in the Official Journal of the EU (which takes about two months). 3 names are at a similar stage, but for cancellation. Behind these, 60 names have been published for opposition and/or opposed. Some 70 new names are in examination, while 32 dossiers have been examined and the applicants asked to supply more information.

For the record, a further 77 amendment dossiers are following a similar path, but these will not result in the addition of a new name nor cancellation of an entry.

What are the benefits of PDO, PGI and TSG registration?

The scheme logos and registered names allow consumers to choose authentic and traditional product. he logos identify products linked to a territory and so help maintaining a market identity for that product.

Producers who rely on commodity production can find that buyers switch sources according to market price: but a product protected under a PDO, PGI or TSG cannot be produced using inferior ingredients and production methods without discontinuing use of the name. This will not prevent buyers from switching sources for product – but where a PDO, PGI or TSG has consumer recognition in the market, supermarket buyers will think twice before substituting for a cheaper brand.

A successful PDO, PGI or TSG with good market recognition can therefore create value, increase demand, avoid use of cheap raw material, secure local jobs and so contribute to agricultural and rural economy. The schemes help producers to obtain a premium price for quality products produced according to tradition in specified places.

What stage has the process of policy reform reached?

On 10 December 2010, the Commission adopted the Quality Package. This comprised a suite of measures designed to consolidate schemes, labelling terms, and initiatives that assist farmers communicate about the qualities of product to consumers. The aim is to improve consumer information about the farming input to products and enable farmers and producers of first-stage processed goods to secure a fair price for their product characteristics and farming attributes.

Two legislative proposals, on Quality schemes and on Marketing standards, are under scrutiny in Council and Parliament with a view to first reading.

What is proposed in the Quality Package for the PDO-PGI scheme?

Given the success of the PDO-PGI scheme, the Quality Schemes Regulation proposal is designed to consolidate the scheme without changing its essential features. It remains an intellectual property protection scheme, focussed on names of farming product intrinsically linked with a geographical zone.

Changes that are proposed include: greater role for groups of farmers and producers to maintain standards and monitor use f the name in the marketplace; clarification of legal rights, especially in relation to trade marks, and shortening of the registration procedure.

What is proposed in the Quality Package for the TSG scheme?

With only 30 names registered since 1992, the TSG scheme has not reached its potential. The Quality Schemes Regulation proposal therefore proposes a radical overhaul of the scheme, in order to underpin the credibility of the scheme with consumers and focus the scheme on traditional recipes. The main elements proposed are to increase the period indicating ‘traditional practice’ from 25 years to 50 years – i.e. before the industrialisation of agriculture; to require that both the ingredients and processing method are traditional; and to limit the scheme to processed product. It is also proposed to shorten procedures and limit the scheme to the protection of names.

1 :

Separate schemes operated by the Commission concern spirit drinks and wine names.

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