The EU Commission has approved the addition of a new Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for olive oil produced in the Southern Spain region of Jaén.
The PGI was granted to ‘Aceite de Jaén’ for extra virgin olive oil produced from olives grown in the province. Jaén’s application for a PGI was submitted in January and was officially registered May 19, 2020.See more: The Best Olive Oils from Jaén
Protected status was requested for the product which was described as, “an extra virgin olive oil obtained directly from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L.) and exclusively by mechanical means from olive tree plantations located across the entire province of Jaén.”
Ninety percent of the olive trees grown in the region are Picual, the main variety in ‘Aceite de Jaén.’ Other varieties permitted in the application are the indigenous Manzanilla de Jaén, Royal de Cazorla and Carrasqueño de Alcaudete; and the non-indigenous Hojiblanca, Arbequina and Picudo cultivars.
‘Aceite de Jaén’ is the extra-virgin olive oil obtained from olives of the above-mentioned varieties harvested before December 31, as long as at least 85 percent of the oil is from the indigenous varieties.
Chemical and organoleptic criteria are also defined for the PGI, such as a maximum acidity of 0.5 percent, total polyphenols of 300 mg/kg, a median score for fruitiness of greater than 3 and a permitted median score of bitterness between 3 and 6.5.
The approved ‘Aceite de Jaén’ PGI will cover all producers in the area who meet the criteria and will help protect Jaén’s producers from misuse and imitation, reassure consumers as to the true origin of the olive oil and ultimately protect local value at the global level.
European Union products labeled with a geographical indication are worth €74.76 billion ($80.74 billion), according to a recent study from the European Commission. The driving force for growth in the oil and fats category has been both PDO and PGI extra virgin olive oils.
Extra virgin olive oils with geographical indicators in Spain represented 25 percent of the sales value and one-third of the growth.
Jaén is situated in the northeast of Andalusia where olive groves dominate around 90 percent of cultivated land. The region produces around half of Spain’s olive oil which is vital to the region’s economy and culture.
‘Aceite de Jaén’ joins more than 1,470 products already protected by a PGI.