Bottlers Dispute Application for Crete PGI

With the proposed Protected Geographical Indication, producers on Crete seek control of the production chain while bottlers fear losing profits.
Feb. 3, 2021
Costas Vasilopoulos

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A heated debate between olive oil pro­duc­ers in Crete and Sevitel, the asso­ci­a­tion of Greek bot­tlers of olive oil, has ignited over the inten­tion of the Cretan pro­duc­ers to mar­ket their olive oil under one com­mon PGI label.

Α group of Cretan pro­duc­ers rep­re­sent­ing all the island’s regions has sub­mit­ted an appli­ca­tion to the Greek Ministry of Agriculture to obtain Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) sta­tus for the name Crete” with the European Union.

We remain firm in our posi­tion and we do not nego­ti­ate the view of Sevitel to send our olive oil in bulk for bot­tling all over Greece.- Heraklion pro­duc­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion, 

With their appli­ca­tion, the Cretan pro­duc­ers aim for the full pro­duc­tion process of Cretan olive oil to take place exclu­sively on the island, includ­ing the har­vest­ing, pro­cess­ing and bot­tling of the olive oil.

In response to the appli­ca­tion, Sevitel has lodged an objec­tion with the min­istry to block the process, claim­ing that the olive oil pro­duced in Crete should be allowed to be bot­tled any­where else in the world.

See Also:Europe Seeks Public Input in Effort to Framework for Geographical Indications

A PGI label is a geo­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tion attrib­uted to food prod­ucts linked with a spe­cific area of an E.U. mem­ber state that sat­is­fies sev­eral cri­te­ria with at least one of the pro­duc­tion, pro­cess­ing or prepa­ra­tion of the prod­uct tak­ing place within the par­tic­u­lar area.

Sevitel’s rea­son­ing to object is based on the stip­u­la­tion of the E.U.‘s reg­u­la­tion per­tain­ing to Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and PGI labels for the unob­structed cir­cu­la­tion of prod­ucts and ser­vices when labels are granted.


Large quan­ti­ties of the Greek, and by exten­sion the Cretan, olive oil pro­duced each year are exported in bulk to extra‑E.U. des­ti­na­tions and Italy for bot­tling, with Greek pro­duc­ers endur­ing the loss of sell­ing an unbranded prod­uct com­pared with a branded olive oil.

The Cretan pro­duc­ers are look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on their prod­uct, while Sevitel is try­ing to pro­tect the vested inter­est of bot­tlers out­side of Crete: the island accounts for almost a third of Greece’s annual olive oil pro­duc­tion and being unable to acquire Cretan olive oil would deprive bot­tlers of an impor­tant resource.

We remain firm in our posi­tion, and we do not nego­ti­ate the view of Sevitel to send our olive oil in bulk for bot­tling all over Greece, ” the pro­duc­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion of Heraklion said in a press release.

See Also:Row Over Kalamata PDO Divides Opinions in Greece

The term pro­tected geo­graph­i­cal indi­ca­tion in itself allows us to under­stand that it refers to a spe­cific, delim­ited area with all that derives from it, that is, all the pro­ce­dures to be done in the spe­cific area,” they added.

It is not only about the olive oil per se, but also about the local facil­i­ties and the peo­ple of Crete to work, the local sell­ers of pack­ag­ing mate­ri­als, the trans­port com­pa­nies, the whole olive oil pro­duc­tion infra­struc­ture required for Cretan olive oil to leave the island pack­aged,” the asso­ci­a­tion con­cluded.

No con­sen­sus on the mat­ter was reached dur­ing a recent tele­meet­ing between the two par­ties.

The objec­tion of Sevitel will be exam­ined by the appeal com­mit­tee of the Ministry of Agriculture within five months from fil­ing, the min­istry told Olive Oil Times in an email mes­sage.

If the Cretan pro­duc­ers’ appli­ca­tion for a PGI label is accepted, it will be for­warded to the European Commission for fur­ther eval­u­a­tion.

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