Craftsmanship, origin and tradition always guaranteed
Seeking and researching the labels of products with a Quality Label, which guarantees their craftsmanship, origin and tradition, is an exciting experience. The Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and the Protected Geographic Indications (PGI) represent almost three hundred quality marks and are the necessary mechanisms for better promotion and protection of the varied range of products covered. Based on this, there are marks of all sizes: ranging from wines from La Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Jerez to Manchego Cheese, to other tiny productions, that need to be preserved. ()
The 1970 Spanish legislation is more precise and classifies it as “the geographical name of the region, county, place or locality used to designate a product proceeding from the respective area that has differentiating qualities and characteristics mainly due to its natural environment, production and breeding”. However, the notion arose spontaneously as the use of geographic names of the region in which certain products are produced became widespread.
The PDO and PGI (there are also Specific Designations and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) are signs that are used to identify goods and give them a kind of identity card based on their origin. In this way, they help to preserve the characteristics and heritage of each region or county. There is a commitment to culture, sustainability and respect for the environment.
This is one of the key factors in the 21st century on the old continent: European quality policy protects the designations of certain products related to a region or production method, whether they are meat (beef, caprine, Iberian pork, suckling pig, suckling lamb, ternasco), vegetables, garden produce or fish. This is one of the main objectives. This recognition is translated into quality logos that enable products with differentiated quality in the European Union to be identified and their authenticity guaranteed through specific controls. Two of these have geographical connotations (Protected Designation of Origin or PDO and Protected Geographic Indication or PGI) and the third one is related to traditional production methods (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed or TSG).
A product bearing the PDO logo must have proven that it has characteristics which can result solely from the natural terrain and abilities of producers in the region of production with which it is associated. Unlike the PGI, all stages of the food production process must take place in the area in question for PDO products.
A product bearing the PGI logo has a specific characteristic or reputation associating it with a given area in which at least one stage in the production process is carried out. PDO and PGI affect very different product categories: virgin olive oils, olives, rice and other fresh or processed cereals, spirits, fresh meat, condiments, and spices, sausages and other meat products, fruit, vegetables, hams, legumes, honey, fish, molluscs and crustaceans, bread, pastry and cake products, cheeses and butter, cider, wines from the region, wines with PDO and other wine products.
As for the Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) logo, it is aimed at products related to a particular production method that has distinctive characteristics either for being made with traditional ingredients, or for being produced using traditional methods. Spanish TSG products include, for example Serrano ham, panellets, farm cheese and oil flat cakes.
Finally, the European Union also uses a quality logo to distinguish products from Organic Farming, which can be simply defined as a production method that maintains soil structure and fertility, promotes a high standard of animal welfare and avoids the use of chemical synthesis products, such as fertilisers, pesticides and antibiotics. Farmers use techniques that help sustain ecosystems and reduce pollution. In other words, only a very limited number of additives and technological aids can be used in food processing.