The European Quality Certification System

PDOandPGIproducts represent excellence in European food production and are both the result of a unique combination of human and environmental factors characteristic of a certain geographical area.

For this reason the European union dictates precise regulations for their safeguarding, providing for the institution of specific quality norms that protect consumers and provide producers with concrete instruments to better identify and promote products with specific characteristics and protect them from illegal practices. 

Regulation (EU) No. 1151/2012 (article 5) describes the meaning of the DOP and PGI acronyms:




Protected Designation of Origin

ThePDO(Protected Designation of Origin) mark identifies a product originating in a specific place, region or country, whose quality or characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to a particular geographical environment with its inherent natural (raw materials, environmental characteristics, location) and human (traditional and artisanal production) factors the production, processing and preparation steps of which all take place in the defined geographical area and in line with the strict production regulations established.


Protected Geographical Indication

ThePGI(Protected Geographical Indication) mark designates a product originating in a specific place, region or country whose given quality, reputation or other characteristic is essentially attributable to its geographical origin and at least one of the production steps of which takes place in the defined geographical area.

Only those products that demonstrate a consolidated and codified production tradition, an inseparable tie with the area of origin, an appropriate socio-entrepreneurial fabric and which succeed in achieving high qualitative levels, certified by external bodies of control, may aspire to obtaining and retaining the sought-after European Community designations and inscription in European register of PDO and PGI products.


Traditional Speciality Guaranteed

TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed)is the third certificate of origin introduced by the European Union, designed to protect products characterised by traditional ingredients or production methods. This certification, disciplined by EC regulation No. 509/2006, in contrast with other marks such as Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), is aimed at those agricultural and food products that have a specific quality associated with traditional methods of production or ingredients from an area, but which are not necessarily produced in that area. A TSG product must also conform to precise production regulations.


Why choose cheeses of certified quality?

  • Because they offer consumers the guarantee of purchasing typical, authentic and high quality products that are part of the food heritage of the countries of the European Union.
  • Because they valorize the work of the producers thanks to the creation of added value that constitutes a safeguard for the producers themselves, protecting them from imitations, falsification and unfair competition.
  • Because they encourage the maintenance and development of territories, local economies and agricultural and alimentary diversity.

PDO and PGI by numbers* (excluding wines, spirits and fortified wines)

On the 1st of January 2015, the European Union had certified 585 PDO and 621 PGI products.

268 PDO and PGI products are registered in Italy, excluding wines and aquavits (updated to the 1st of January 2015). As for the European Union as a whole, they include a wide variety of agricultural food products (dairy products, meats, poultry, cured meats, fish products, fruit and vegetables, cereals, pasta, olives and olive oil, condiments, honey, confectionary products...):

161 PDO

Examples: Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Asiago, Pecorino Toscano, Piave, Montasio, Prosciutto di Parma, Prosciutto Toscano, Soppressata di Calabria, Patata di Bologna, Pistacchio verde di Bronte, Arancia di Ribera, Pane di Altamura...

107 PGI

Examples: Agnello di Sardegna, Bresaola della Valtellina, Speck Alto Adige, Salame S. Angelo, Porchetta di Ariccia, Mela di Valtellina, Ciliegia di Vignola, Cipolla Rossa di Tropea, Limone di Siracusa, Pasta di Gragnano...

 Italy also has two TGS products: Mozzarella, Pizza Napoletana

For further information: