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Croatia and Slovenia Receive Joint EU Protection for Istrian Olive Oil

The two Balkan states now share the European Union PDO appellation for extra virgin olive oil produced on the Adriatic peninsula.

Mar. 4, 2019
By Isabel Putinja

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Extra virgin olive oil from Istria has been included in the European Union’s Register of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) as a prod­uct of PDO.

The appel­la­tion “Istra” (the Croatian and Slovenian name for Istria) is now a reg­is­tered PDO for olive oil pro­duced in Istria, a penin­sula located in the north Adriatic Sea that is shared by both Croatia and Slovenia.

The exten­sion of the geo­graph­i­cal area to Slovenian Istria is jus­ti­fied since Slovenian Istria pro­duces olive oil shar­ing the same his­tory, link and qual­i­ties with the Croatian Istrian olive oil cov­ered by the appli­ca­tion.- state­ment from Official Journal of the EU

While 90 per­cent of Istria is located in Croatia, the north­west­ern part of the penin­sula belongs to Slovenia.

The new appel­la­tion was announced in a reg­u­la­tion pub­lished on February 27, 2019 in the Official Journal of the European Union.

See more: Protected Designation of Origin

After receiv­ing national Protected Designation of Origin status in 2015, the appli­ca­tion for PDO recog­ni­tion at the EU level for Istrian olive oil was first sub­mit­ted by Croatia to the European Commission in July 2015.

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Following the pub­li­ca­tion of the appli­ca­tion in March 2016 and in accor­dance with pro­ce­dures, which include a three-month objec­tion period, a notice of oppo­si­tion was filed by Slovenia on June 22, 2016.

The objec­tion argued that the pro­posed appel­la­tion “Istarsko ekstra dje­vičan­sko masli­novo ulje” (Istrian extra virgin olive oil) may cause con­fu­sion as Slovenian olive oil from Istria already had PDO status in the EU’s reg­is­ter under the name “Ekstra deviško oljčno olje Slovenske Istre” (extra virgin olive oil from Slovenian Istria) since 2007.

The European Commission accepted the objec­tion as admis­si­ble and in October 2016 asked the author­i­ties of the two neigh­bor­ing coun­tries to reach an agree­ment on the issue.

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Following con­sul­ta­tions, an agree­ment was com­mu­ni­cated to the Commission in May 2017 and a new joint appli­ca­tion was filed jointly by both coun­tries.

Several amend­ments were agreed on, the most impor­tant being that the pro­posed appel­la­tion be changed to “Istra,” and the pro­duc­tion area enlarged to include the entire penin­sula.

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Following exam­i­na­tion of the new joint appli­ca­tion, the European Commission accepted the appli­ca­tion for reg­is­tra­tion on the basis that con­di­tions were ful­filled and that the appel­la­tion “Istra” be entered in the reg­is­ter of EU prod­ucts with PDO.

The reg­u­la­tion pub­lished in the Official Journal declares that: “The exten­sion of the geo­graph­i­cal area to Slovenian Istria is jus­ti­fied since Slovenian Istria pro­duces olive oil shar­ing the same his­tory, link and qual­i­ties with the Croatian Istrian olive oil cov­ered by the appli­ca­tion. The use of the name ‘Istra’ has been exhaus­tively demon­strated in Slovenia and Croatia.”

PDO is the high­est of the three des­ig­na­tions under the EU prod­uct cer­ti­fi­ca­tion system for agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, which pro­tects prod­uct names from misuse and assures con­sumers of their authen­tic­ity.

A prod­uct labelled with a PDO des­ig­na­tion is one that is pro­duced, processed and pre­pared in a spe­cific geo­graph­i­cal area using local knowl­edge and meth­ods.

The other two EU des­ig­na­tions include PGI – for prod­ucts with at least one stage of pro­duc­tion, pro­cess­ing or prepa­ra­tion taking place in a cer­tain geo­graph­i­cal area – and TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed), which des­ig­nates prod­ucts with a “tra­di­tional char­ac­ter” in terms of either its com­po­si­tion or pro­duc­tion.

Croatia and Slovenia already share a PDO in the EU’s reg­is­ter for Istrian pro­sciutto, or cured ham, which was reg­is­tered in October 2015.

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