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The Product Specification for the Protected Geographical Identification (PGI) “Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva IGP Sicilia” was laid down by the Food and Agriculture Department of Sicily last month and it has already been approved by the national author­i­ties. The path to Brussels is open and the European Commission’s approval will be the final step in the recog­ni­tion of Sicilian olive oil.

The Protected Geographical Identification (PGI) is a EU des­ig­na­tion to pro­tect the ori­gin of an agri­cul­tural prod­uct or food­stuff which orig­i­nates in the European Union and is made accord­ing to the pro­ce­dures estab­lished by the Regulation (EU) No 1151/​2012 of the European Parliament and the Council of 21 November 2012.

A prod­uct spec­i­fi­ca­tion states the spe­cific rules agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and foods have to ful­fill to obtain the PGI, among which is a detailed descrip­tion of the prod­uct itself (includ­ing raw mate­ri­als, and phys­i­cal, chem­i­cal, micro­bi­o­log­i­cal and organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics), the def­i­n­i­tion and descrip­tion of the geo­graph­i­cal area, a descrip­tion of the meth­ods used to obtain the prod­uct and, if appro­pri­ate, the authen­tic and unvary­ing local meth­ods.

A PGI is an E.U. pro­gram to pro­tect and sup­port the link between the qual­ity or char­ac­ter­is­tics of a prod­uct and the geo­graph­i­cal envi­ron­ment it comes from.

The increas­ing demand for qual­ity and tra­di­tional prod­ucts is strictly related to the safe­guard of the eco- and agro-​systems each ter­ri­tory has, and the ben­e­fits of a PGI des­ig­na­tion for the Sicilian extra vir­gin olive oil are immense, not only from an eco­nomic point of view, but also for the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment of its agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

As the regional author­i­ties declared, the Sicilia IGP indi­ca­tion has the aim of pro­tect­ing Sicilian extra vir­gin oils and cul­ti­vars from coun­ter­feit­ing, to guar­an­tee trace­abil­ity and to sup­port the olive grow­ers who work with pas­sion and respect for the earth. The extra vir­gin “IGP Sicilia” will be an oil made not only with olives har­vested in Sicily, but above all processed, bot­tled and pack­aged there.

Composed of ten arti­cles, the Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva IGP Sicilia prod­uct spec­i­fi­ca­tions deter­mine the spe­cific cul­ti­vars, as well as the geo­graphic areas of pro­duc­tion and a set of rules for trace­abil­ity.

Sicily is the third largest Italian region in the pro­duc­tion of extra vir­gin olive oil with 20 mil­lions trees spread over a 185 thou­sands hectares. Such a huge envi­ron­men­tal and bio­di­ver­sity her­itage must be pre­served and pro­moted.

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