Description of scheme
The scheme for the protection of names for agricultural products and foodstuffs has been in force in the area of the European Community since 1993. The purpose of the scheme is to protect foodstuffs and agricultural products against imitation and misuse of the established name. At the same time, the registration of the name can give the product added value. For the consumer, registration proves that the origin, raw materials and manufacturing method of the product are known and in essential parts are always the same regardless of the manufacturer.
The protection of the name (registration of the name) usually applies to products that have been traditionally manufactured or produced in a certain area or by a certain manufacturing method for several generations, or are distinguishable from other comparable foods by their manufacturing methods or ingredients.
Only several producers together or an association or organisation that represents them may apply for the registration. Individual producers cannot apply for the protection of their product, except in special cases.
The registration of the name is a two-phase process consisting of a national procedure and a review at Community level. The application is submitted to the Agency for Rural Affairs that is responsible for the national review procedure and for issuing a decision on the registration of the name. The Agency for Rural Affairs then forwards the application to the Commission, which conducts a review on the EU level and then handles the actual registration of the name.
The names of more than 1300 products have so far been registered in the area of EU. The largest group of registered products consists of cheeses, followed by fruit and vegetables, meat and meat based products, as well as olive oils. Some of the registered names are only known on national level, while others are known all over the world. However, they are all renowned products of high significance, at least in their own area. France and Italy have the highest number of registered products. Portugal, Spain and Greece are next in the list. All these countries have long traditions in national protection of their local foodstuffs, already prior to the adoption of the EU schemes for name protection.
Registered names may only be used on the conditions presented in the registration application of the protected products. The Commission produces a concise product specification based on the application.
Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council provides for the schemes for the registration of names. A link to the Regulation http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32012R1151&qid=1523943866773&from=FI.
Name registration schemes
There are three schemes for the protection of names. Two of them, protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI), delimitate the manufacture and/or production of the product to its traditional geographical area. The third protection scheme, traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG), on the other hand, protects the traditional manufacturing method and ingredients of the product, but does not tie the manufacture or the origin of the raw materials to a specific geographical area.
1. Protected designation of origin (PDO)
The production, processing and handling of the product shall take place within a specific geographical area. The quality or the characteristics of the product are essentially due to the geographical area, for example a raw material produced in the area.
Finnish products with a protected designation of origin include Lapin Puikula – potato from Lapland (1997), Lapin Poron liha – reindeer meat from Lapland (2009), Lapin poron kuivaliha – dried reindeer meat from Lapland (2010), Lapin Poron kylmäsavuliha – cold-smoked reindeer meat from Lapland (2011) and Kitkan viisas (2013). The name Kitkan viisas is used for vendace caught in the lakes of the Koillismaa highlands, specially characterised by the soft backbone. A more detailed description is provided in specification: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2012:136:0013:0015:EN:PDF.
Lapin Puikula potatoes must be produced and packaged in Lapland. Potatoes referred to as just Puikula, on the other hand, can be produced and packaged also elsewhere than in Lapland.
Reindeer meat marketed as Lapin Poron liha must be produced, cut and packaged in the Finnish reindeer husbandry area. Reindeer meat is sold under the name of Lapin Poron liha in whole, half and quarter carcases or cut into carcase and muscle parts. A more detailed description is provided in specification http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2008:019:0022:0026:EN:PDF.
The protection only applies to the designation Lapin Poron liha.
European products, examples: Parmigiano Reggiano – cheese (parmesan cheese) (Italy), Feta cheese (Greece), Roquefort cheese (France), Gorgonzola cheese (Italy), Prosciutto di Parma – Parma ham (Italy), Prosciutto di Carpegna – Carpegna ham (Italy), Prosciutto di Modena – Modena ham (Italy), Pistacchio verde di Bronte – pistachio nuts (Italy), Huile d'olive de Nice – Nice olive oil (France), Modena traditional balsamic vinegar (Italy).
2. Protected geographical indication (PGI)
At least one of the following phases: production, processing, or handling must take place within a certain geographical area, and the quality, reputation or other characteristics of the product must be attributable to this area. Some of the raw material for the product can be acquired from outside the area.
Two Finnish products have protected geographical indications: Kainuun rönttönen – rye crust pie with lingonberries (2008) and Puruveden muikku – vendace caught in Lake Puruvesi (2013). The place of production of the manufacturer of Kainuun rönttönen must be located in Kainuu Region. The manufacturing method is described in the specification included in the registration application: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2008:074:0072:0075:EN:PDF.
The name Puruveden muikku is used for vendace (Coregonus albula) caught in the Puruvesi lake basin situated in the north-eastern part of Lake Saimaa. It is noticeably more silver in colour compared to other vendace. Other requirements are laid down in the product specification: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2013:140:0017:0019:EN:PDF.
European products, examples: Navarra asparagus (Spain), Ardennes ham (Belgium), Schwarzwald ham (Germany), Connemara Hill lamb (Ireland), Steirisches Kurbiskeröl – pumpkin seed oil (Austria), Aachen gingerbread (Germany), Lübeck marzipan (Germany).
PDO and PGI products registered in other EU states
Products with PDO registered in other countries may not be manufactured in Finland. In most cases this concerns cheeses; e.g. Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Danablu cheese, Feta cheese, Roquefort cheese, Gorgonzola cheese. The significant production, manufacturing and processing phases of products with PGI must also be carried out within a specific production area.
Other products may not be accompanied by reference to a protected name, for example by using expressions such as "style", "type", "method", "as produced in", "imitation", etc. In other words, "Feta cheese type cheese", for example, is not a permitted name for a foodstuff, but the name must be formed according to e.g. the purpose of use, such as "salad cheese".
All handling, cutting, grating and packaging of cheeses with PDO status shall take place in the specified geographical area, unless the product specification of the designation allows a less restricted practice.
3. Traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG)
The traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) protection does not refer to the origin of the product, but emphasises the traditional composition or production method of the product. A product with TSG status can be manufactured anywhere within the EU area, but the product must be manufactured according to the registered manufacturing method and list of ingredients.
The application for TSG status shall indicate if the applicant wishes to reserve the name exclusively for a product complying with the specification. If the name is reserved, the product manufactured under that name shall comply with the specification. If the name is not reserved, also products that do not comply with the specification can be referred to by the same name.
Finnish products with TSG include Sahti beer (2002), Kalakukko – fish and pork pie (2002) and Karjalanpiirakka – Karelian pasty (2003).
Karjalanpiirakka – Karelian pasty
The applicant has reserved the name karjalanpiirakka – Karelian pasty exclusively to products that comply with the registered method http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2002:102:0014:0015:EN:PDF.
The registration only applies to the name "karjalanpiirakka" – Karelian pasty. Pasties that do not meet the aforementioned requirements can be referred to by the name of e.g. "riisipiirakka" (rice pasty).
Kalakukko – fish and pork pie
The applicant has reserved the name kalakukko – fish and pork pie exclusively to products that comply with the registered method http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2001:235:0012:0014:EN:PDF.
The protection only applies to the name Kalakukko, not to names "muikkukukko" (vendace pie), "ahvenkukko" (perch pie), "lanttukukko" (rutabaga pie), etc.
European products, examples: Mozzarella cheese, Falun sausage (Falukorv), Serrano ham (Jamón serrano), Pizza Napoletana. Products can also be protected in just one language; "Traditional Farmfresh Turkey", for example, is only protected in the English language. The label must include the expression "traditional British style".
The registration applications of Mozzarella cheese and Pizza Napoletana do not reserve the name exclusively for a product complying with the specification, and thus these names can be used for other comparable products also. However, the label of such products may not include the indication "genuine traditional product" or the EU symbol.
List of products with registered names
An up-to-date list of products with a registered name is provided on the EU web site:
The list contains
- registered products
- products for which the application for registration has been published (member states can lodge objections to the Commission within six months)
- products for which the application for registration has been submitted, but has not yet been published
Products can be searched from the list by country, product class, registered name or the name shown in the application (products that have not yet been registered).
The product specifications, which describe the manufacturing method and other factors contributing to the specific character of the products, can also be found from this link.
As of 4 January 2016, the use of a symbol indicating that the name is registered is mandatory with products introduced on the market.It is also possible to use the indication "protected designation of origin" (products with PDO), "protected geographical indication" (products with PGI) or "traditional speciality guaranteed" (products with TSG) in the label, but these indications are no longer mandatory.
Registration of names regarding ready meals and restaurants
If the labelling of a processed food or the menu at a restaurant, for example, includes an indication of a food with a registered name, the associated symbol must be shown in connection with the name. The processed food or dish must also contain the ingredient in question in sufficient quantities to confer a specific taste on the food. A comparable "regular" ingredient must not be used to supplement such a processed food or dish. This is discussed in more detail in the Communication of the EU Commission: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2010:341:0003:0004:en:PDF.
Annex X to Commission Regulation (EU) No 668/2014 provides in more detail (colours, size, fonts) for PDO and PGI symbols: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32014R0668&qid=1523947438785&from=FI.
All the symbols are shown in printable quality at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm.