In 1992 the European Community in order to protect and guarantee to the final consumer the quality and authenticity of the made in Europe established an authority of control and the 4 criteria of evaluation:
- European laws: the products are regulated by Italian and European Laws
- Traceability the products come from a designated geographic area
- Territory: the products are obtained through traditional methods and they are link to the the territory, their geological, agronomic and climatic characteristics
- Tradition: the production methods respect the tradition and preserve the characteristics of the product
DOP products are characterized by a deep link with the territory and are those who most value the tradition and local biodiversity. In particular, the DOP is applied to foods, where the entire production process, including the supply of raw material, takes place in a defined geographical area and in which you will have a unique and specific link between product and territory, according to precise standard. For instance Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese is a DOP product because it is produced in a restricted area, raw materials must come from the production area, and all producers make it the same way!
IGP products are unique in taste and tradition. Due to their unique characteristics the production process must take place at least for a part in the geographical area of recognition. Mortadella the famous Bologna or Bolonee is an IGP product. As a matter of facts, the raw materials can arrive from an area in Italy different from the production one and it is obligatory that only one phase over 3 takes place in the production area.
STG is a Community trade mark unrelated to the territory so STG products as far as the raw materials used for the production can not to be produced at the place of origin. Their specificity concerns the production to be performed according to the traditional method of a given territory and that distinguishes this product from others in the same category. Mozzarella and Pizza, as an example, are STG products because the raw materials or ingredients used for the production can arrive from different areas in Italy. Nevertheless, the ingredients must be selected and the production must follow the traditional method or recipe.
Coming back to the Parmigiano Reggiano, the Italian Ministry of Agriculture has indicated the cheese at the top of the standings ahead of Grana Padano and Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, the South Tyrolean Apple and Prosciutto di Parma, and then again Pecorino Romano cheese, Gorgonzola cheese, Buffalo Mozzarella cheese, Speck Alto Adige and San Daniele ham.
The primacy of Parmigiano Reggiano derives, according to the classification, especially from consumer sales, which in 2016 amounted to 3.469.865 and has appeared in +5,06% growth, as well as excellent performance in the value of exports ( 37% 49.400 tons exported +5,8% in 2016). This data confirm the centrality of this delicious product in the excellence of the Made in Italy.
Nowadays in Europe there are 1579 certified DOP food products. Italy boasts 293 DOP food products and Emilia Romagna the Land of Parmesan Cheese with its 75 DOP food products has proven itself as the undisputed foodie region of Italy!
Author: Olga Arena
Consorzio Tutela Parmigiano Reggiano, Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali, Qualigeo