P.D.O. or P.G.I. ? Differences

Many producers and consumers are not yet used to brands that distinguish between P.D.O. ( Protected Designation of Origin ) and P.G.I. ( Protected Geographical Indication ) products. Both are quality labels released by the European Union and are based on the proposal of the Minister of Agriculture of each European country,in conjunction with the availability of interested producers to undergo a constant control from a third party certification entity.
Protected Designation of Origin ( P.D.O. ) is a label that guarantees legal protection to the designation of those food products which qualitative characteristics depend, essentially or exclusively, on the region in which they are produced. The geographical environment includes both natural factors ( climate, environmental characteristics ), and human factors ( handed down production techniques, craftsmanship, savoir-faire ) which, combined, allow to obtain a product that is inimitable outside of that specific region. To make a P.D.O. product, the production, transformation, processing phases have to be carried on in a specific and limited geographic region.

Protected Geographical Indication ( P.G.I. ) is a label that guarantees legal protection to the geographical indication of the products; it is assigned to agricultural or food products with a specific quality, reputation or other characteristic that depends on the geographic origin and which production, transformation and/ or processing is carried on in a specific and limited geographical region. To obtain the PGI at least one phase of the production process has to be done in a specific geographic region.

Thus the difference between P.D.O. and P.G.I. products is that: for the P.D.O. products all the activities related to the processing and marketing of the products have to be originated in the declared region; whereas for the P.G.I. products only some phases or components of the production process have to be carried on in the declared region, but it is not necessary that all the needed factors for the product production come from the declared region. So for instance the Bresaola della Valtellina is a P.G.I. product and not a P.D.O. product since it is obtained from beef not bred in Valtellina, even if are used the traditional production methods and the product get all the benefits of the favourable environment of that region. Furthermore the P.D.O. label only certify products that have been entirely produced and packed in the declared region, whereas the P.G.I. label certifies that not all the production process is linked to that specific region but only the most relevant phases that give to the product its unique character.