`Europe Strengthens Rules to Protect PDO and PGI Products - Olive Oil Times

Europe Strengthens Rules to Protect PDO and PGI Products

By Costas Vasilopoulos
Nov. 9, 2023 15:22 UTC

The European Parliament and the Council, the co-leg­is­la­tors of the European Union, have agreed to work on a new reg­u­la­tion that will review and reform the rules for reg­is­ter­ing and pro­tect­ing geo­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tions (GIs) for wines, spir­its and agri­food prod­ucts, includ­ing extra vir­gin olive oil and table olives.

The European Commission, the exec­u­tive arm of the E.U., ini­ti­ated the process after an eval­u­a­tion last year showed that the exist­ing pro­ce­dures and legal require­ments for cer­ti­fy­ing food prod­ucts from European pro­duc­ers as GIs are time-con­sum­ing and lack flex­i­bil­ity and a high level of pro­tec­tion.

Geographical indi­ca­tions rep­re­sent one of our great E.U. agri-food suc­cess sto­ries,” said Janusz Wojciechowski, the E.U. com­mis­sioner for agri­cul­ture, com­ment­ing on the pro­vi­sional agree­ment between the two leg­isla­tive bod­ies.

See Also:Europe Approves PDO for Memecik from Aydın, Turkey

They pre­serve our unique her­itage and tra­di­tions, and they sup­port rural job cre­ation: the value of a prod­uct with a pro­tected name is, on aver­age, dou­ble that for sim­i­lar prod­ucts with­out a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion,” he added. Strengthening our GI sys­tem will ben­e­fit all our pro­duc­ers and regions.”

The new mea­sures will include strength­en­ing pro­ducer groups by pro­vid­ing them with more rights and recog­ni­tion, lim­it­ing the time required to scru­ti­nize new appli­ca­tions for GI reg­is­tra­tion to six months and improv­ing the pro­tec­tion of GIs used as ingre­di­ents and online.

A prac­ti­cal guide on pro­tect­ing GIs on the Internet pub­lished by the Association of European Regions of Origin Products (AREPO) this year high­lighted the lack of ade­quate pro­tec­tion for GI names on the World Wide Web.

The guide noted, for exam­ple, that the allo­ca­tion of domain names by ICANN, the American non-profit orga­ni­za­tion respon­si­ble for man­ag­ing the global domain name sys­tem, is an essen­tially loose process that leaves room for the mis­use of Europe’s GI prod­uct names.

The inter­net appears to be the main vec­tor of eco­nomic devel­op­ment today for all the play­ers in the agri­cul­tural world, par­tic­u­larly in the GI sec­tors,” the guide authors wrote. Nevertheless, the inter­net is also a place of expo­sure to new risks that need to be prop­erly iden­ti­fied to guard against them and avoid endan­ger­ing GIs, their image and their rep­u­ta­tion.”

Once the new reg­u­la­tion comes into force, the E.U. mem­ber states must take admin­is­tra­tive and judi­cial mea­sures to pre­vent or stop the ille­gal use of GI food prod­uct names online.

The new leg­is­la­tion is also expected to imple­ment new require­ments to fur­ther pro­mote envi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity and ani­mal wel­fare in food pro­duc­tion across the E.U. mem­ber states.

The E.U.’s geo­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tions include the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) schemes, which aim to cer­tify the qual­ity, char­ac­ter­is­tics and rep­u­ta­tion of agri­cul­tural and other food prod­ucts linked to nat­ural and human fac­tors in spe­cific European regions.

They also enable European con­sumers to dis­tin­guish qual­ity prod­ucts and pro­duc­ers bet­ter to mar­ket their prod­ucts more effi­ciently.

There are more than 3,500 European prod­ucts with a PGI or a PDO cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. In con­trast, more than 1,500 GIs world­wide are pro­tected in the E.U. from imi­ta­tion and coun­ter­feit­ing through bilat­eral trade agree­ments.

In finan­cial terms, food prod­ucts pro­tected by the E.U.’s Geographical Indications (GIs) sys­tem rep­re­sent a sales value of around €80 bil­lion annu­ally.


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