Istrian EVOO Awaits PDO Status at EU Level

After receiving national Protected Designation of Origin status in 2015, extra virgin olive oil from the peninsular region of Istria in Croatia awaits the same recognition at the EU level.

May. 5, 2016
By Isabel Putinja

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After receiv­ing PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) sta­tus at a national level in 2015, extra vir­gin olive oil from the penin­su­lar region of Istria in Croatia is now await­ing the same recog­ni­tion in the EU.

The appli­ca­tion for PDO sta­tus for Istrian extra vir­gin olive oil was sub­mit­ted to the European Commission on July 30, 2015. In accor­dance with offi­cial pro­ce­dures, the appli­ca­tion was exam­ined for receiv­abil­ity” and then pub­lished in the Official Journal on March 23, 2016.

I expect Istrian extra vir­gin olive oil will receive PDO sta­tus at the EU level in the sec­ond half of the year.- Ivan Jakovčić, Croatian MEP

Ivan Jakovčić, a Croatian Member of European Parliament and for­mer polit­i­cal head of the Istrian Region for more than a decade, played an impor­tant role in the devel­op­ment of Istria as an olive-grow­ing region, and has more recently been advo­cat­ing for mea­sures sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing the European olive sec­tor. He has also played an active role in the prepa­ra­tion for this appli­ca­tion for PDO sta­tus. As a pres­i­dent of the Region of Istria, and, since 2014, MEP and mem­ber of the Committee on Agriculture, I’ve been in close con­tact with a team man­ag­ing this project and help­ing them to a suc­cess­ful end,” he told Olive Oil Times.
See Also: The Best Olive Oils from Croatia
Acting for more than a decade as a pres­i­dent of the Region of Istria, I have been strongly sup­port­ing the devel­op­ment of olive grow­ing in Istria, tak­ing advan­tage of its soil and cli­mate char­ac­ter­is­tics rec­og­nized as far back as Ancient Roman times. Istrian extra vir­gin olive oil is prized for and dis­tin­guished by its high qual­ity, physico-chem­i­cal and organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics. Thanks to sup­port and invest­ments by our regional gov­ern­ment, pro­duc­tion has increased sig­nif­i­cantly and olive oil from Istria is gain­ing increas­ing inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion. After gain­ing national PDO sta­tus in 2015, the next step was the appli­ca­tion for the PDO sta­tus at the European level.”

Croatian olive oils won 9 awards among 16 sub­mit­ted entries at this year’s New York International Olive Oil Competition.

Under the EU’s prod­uct cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem there are three dif­fer­ent exist­ing des­ig­na­tions for agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and foodstuffs: 

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  • PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) des­ig­nates a prod­uct or food­stuff which is pro­duced, processed and pre­pared in a cer­tain geo­graph­i­cal area using rec­og­nized know-how.
  • PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) refers to a prod­uct or food­stuff that is closely linked to a cer­tain geo­graph­i­cal area, with at least one stage of pro­duc­tion, pro­cess­ing or prepa­ra­tion tak­ing place in this area. 
  • TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) vouches for the tra­di­tional char­ac­ter of a prod­uct, refer­ring to either its com­po­si­tion or means of production.

Extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duced in Istria qual­i­fies for the high­est des­ig­na­tion because all stages of its pro­duc­tion take place in the region, from the grow­ing of olive trees to the press­ing and pro­cess­ing of the olives for oil, and its bot­tling and pack­ag­ing. Once PDO sta­tus is granted, bot­tles of Istrian extra vir­gin olive oil will be labelled with the des­ig­na­tion Istarsko extra dje­vičan­sko masli­novo ulje” (Istrian extra vir­gin olive oil) and bear a spe­cially designed logo.

Not only does a prod­uct cer­ti­fi­ca­tion des­ig­na­tion like PDO rein­force trust among con­sumers that they are buy­ing an authen­tic, qual­ity prod­uct orig­i­nat­ing in a spe­cific geo­graph­i­cal region, it also gives local pro­duc­ers a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage. By label­ing their prod­ucts with the sym­bol and stamp, local pro­duc­ers will gain a bet­ter posi­tion in European and global mar­kets,” con­firmed Jakovčić. PDO sta­tus will boost the devel­op­ment of olive grow­ing in Istria. Furthermore, the Istrian EVOO label will ensure a higher qual­ity and a more com­pet­i­tive prod­uct, guar­an­tee­ing high qual­ity and authen­tic­ity for con­sumers. At the same time, local pro­duc­ers in Istria will be bet­ter pro­tected against olive oil fraud.”

While the process for PDO cer­ti­fi­ca­tion took five years at the national level, it is hoped that this will go faster for the EU des­ig­na­tion. In accor­dance with European Commission pro­ce­dures, a six-month objec­tion period is observed fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of an appli­ca­tion in the Official Journal, dur­ing which time any state­ments of objec­tion can be received and exam­ined. Jakovčić is con­fi­dent that there will be no objec­tions and that Istrian extra vir­gin olive oil will receive the offi­cial recog­ni­tion it deserves quickly: I do not expect any objec­tions to be tabled within the six-month period after the pub­li­ca­tion. Consequently, I expect Istrian extra vir­gin olive oil will receive PDO sta­tus at the EU level in the sec­ond half of the year.” 

Extra vir­gin olive oil from the Croatian island of Cres already enjoys PDO sta­tus at the EU level since 2015, while other appli­ca­tions are also pend­ing for olive oils from the islands of Krk, Korčula and Šolta.



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