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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