Europe

EU Approves PGI for Sicilian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The European Commission approved the Protected Geographical Indication 'PGI Sicilia’ for extra virgin olive oil produced on the island.

Apr. 27, 2016
By Ylenia Granitto

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The European Commission has approved the Protected Geographical Indication PGI ‘Sicilia’ (Sicily) for extra virgin olive oil pro­duced on the island. The second ter­ri­to­r­ial geo­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tion (the first is the Toscano PGI) is the result of long nego­ti­a­tions and a pos­i­tive sign after the con­tro­versy that fol­lowed the European vote on Tunisian olive oil
crit­i­cized by Italian farm­ers, Sicilian ones in par­tic­u­lar.

A great result for the whole Sicilian olive oil supply chain and for those who believed in this project.- President of the IGP Sicilia Olive Oil Committee, Maurizio Lunetta

An EU geo­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tion iden­ti­fies “the name of a region, a spe­cific place or, in excep­tional cases, a coun­try used to describe an agri­cul­tural or food prod­uct as native of that region, spe­cific place or coun­try, and of which a given qual­ity, rep­u­ta­tion or other char­ac­ter­is­tics can be attrib­uted to that geo­graph­i­cal origin and whose pro­duc­tion and/or pro­cess­ing and/or prepa­ra­tion take place in the defined geo­graph­i­cal area,” as reads art. 2 of the Regulation (EC) no. 510/2006.
See more: The Best Sicilian Olive Oils for 2016
Such cer­ti­fi­ca­tions (PGI and PDO) by the European Union are intended to pro­mote the devel­op­ment of spe­cific rural areas and pop­u­la­tions which exert activ­i­ties related to agri­cul­ture and man­u­fac­ture of agri-food prod­ucts with spe­cial qual­ity char­ac­ter­is­tics, in order to pro­tect the inter­ests of pro­duc­ers and con­sumers.

The PGI val­i­da­tion allows Sicilian farm­ers to ben­e­fit from the Measure 3 of the Rural Development Programme of Sicily and covers cer­ti­fi­ca­tion costs up to €3,000 per farm. The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will also allow orga­ni­za­tions of Sicilian pro­duc­ers to access pro­mo­tion pro­grams in third coun­tries and the mea­sures for the pro­mo­tion of regional supply chains.

Giovanni La Via, chair­man of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament, called the mea­sure “a great suc­cess for Sicily and a recog­ni­tion of the work done in recent months which enables us to over­come some tech­ni­cal con­cerns, and that relaunches one of the strate­gic sec­tors of our region, pro­mot­ing our agri-food excel­lence.”

“This is the great vic­tory of a battle in which I have been per­son­ally involved since the begin­ning of my man­date,” added Michela Giuffrida, a member of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the EP. “The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of a unique olive oil pro­duc­tion of the Sicilian ter­ri­tory is an extra­or­di­nary oppor­tu­nity for the island farm­ers which can ben­e­fit from the advan­tages of the European qual­ity system and finally write on the label that their extra virgin olive oil comes exclu­sively from olives grown and crushed in Sicily, with supe­rior qual­ity para­me­ters than the con­ven­tional extra virgin olive oil.”

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The regional agri­cul­ture coun­sel­lor, Antonello Cracolici and the pres­i­dent of the IGP Sicilia Olive Oil Committee, Maurizio Lunetta said in a joint state­ment, “Brussels’s recog­ni­tion is a great result for the whole Sicilian olive oil supply chain and for those who believed in this project and invested their time. Now let us focus on qual­ity as well as quan­tity and sup­port Sicilian extra virgin olive oil.”

Now that the decree is pub­lished in the EU Official Journal, the other member states have 15 days to submit com­ments before the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion becomes effec­tive.