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The label at the table

by Maurizio Marna

 

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 In Italy, safeguarding typical food products is not very recent, on the contrary. It has had to face difficult legislative and judiciary battles, ideological disputes, and the inevitable counterfeiting which unfortunately is still widespread. The guarantee labels were created to defend and guarantee food products, both on a qualitative level as well as territorially, once the product itself obtains the label over time and gains commercial acknowledgement because of its specific characteristics. The quality tied with the specific geographic area and the particular makings of the product: these are the essential prerequisites of safeguarding trademarks.

The consumer, by reading the label "typical product..." has their needs to acquire foodstuffs with specific requisites satisfied, because he/she believes the information regarding the origins of the food product, its authenticity and its healthiness to be true. On the other hand, the producing company, situated in specific geographic areas, can start off with the same competitive edge and operate without the hassle of initial disadvantages when, on its packaging, it places such a label. EU law through regulations 510/2006 and 1898/2006, the latter regarding its application, allows the registration, at the community level, of national trademarks of guarantee and assurance. In this way the respective food goods obtain a 360°protection on a legal level in the territories of every member state.
Of course we cannot forget the Organic labels, which certify the environmental sustainability of the distributed products that also undergo numerous control procedures through the constant interventions of the certifying entities: various European governments recognize the authority and supervision of the organic industry and have streamlined the criteria of supervision to avoid a "babel" of procedures.

Now let's review the list of guaranteed assurance food labels

 

DOP

The "Denominazione di Origine Protetta" (Protected Designation of Origin- PDO) label protects the inescapable relationship between certain foods and their production location, a bond that also involves environmental aspects, traditions and methods of production of the product. The DOP manufacture must follow rigid regulations established in the procedural guidelines of production which are designated to the appropriate control entity.

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IGP

The "Indicazione Geografica Protetta" (Protected Geographical Indication or PGI) encompasses food products closely connected to a specific geographical origin, where at least one of the phases of production, of the making, and the supervision are conducted; here as well procedural guidelines of production and supervision are active and are designated to the appropriate control entity.

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STG

Specialità Tradizionale Garantita (Traditional specialities guaranteed or TSG) is a label which is attributed to the aim of highlighting the traditional character of certain food products. The traditional character may derive from a particular ingredient in a product or its manufacturing; the conformity to guidelines of production is obligatory as is the supervision by a control entity.

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DOC

La Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Controlled Designation of Origin), a label of Italian origins, is recognized in the enological sector to certify a circumscribed area of cultivation, harvest,or winemaking production, whose final result are renowned high quality bottles of wine: their value is connected to the natural location of the grapes and the peculiarity of their manufacturing; DOC wines must undergo a chemical-physical analysis and an organoleptic exam during the production phase to attest its adherence to the procedural guidelines approved by a ministerial order: it is a preparatory condicio sine qua non for the sales that follow.

ATTENTION! The DOC label is part of the EU DOP classification

 

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DOCG

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (Controlled and Guarateed Designation of Origin) is a label which is distinguished by the precise location of origin. The production location of the specific wine, is in any case limited to a certain municipality, suburb, or even vineyard. Such an area has therefore restrictions. Perhaps a portion of the territory is already used as DOC cultivation/production site. From this strip of land emerges indeed the DOCG label, or the label may be applied as an indication and designation of quality, for example by using the term Superior. The regulations of the DOCG procedural guidelines follow the same lines of the DOC procedural guidelines but the parameters they must satisfy are more rigid: indeed the DOCG designation is given exclusively to wines that are DOC no less than five years; they must undergo a double exam, the second of which is done during the bottling phase. Moreover, the label must contain the year of production. An exception is made for "bubbly" wines (meaning sparkling, a perlage=effervescence) .

ATTENTION! The DOCG is now part of the EU DOP classification

 

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IGT

L'Indicazione Geografica Tipica refers generally to wine products of areas which are extended over a large territory (regions, provincial districts) which are in any case subject to specific requisites. However, they do not have the restrictions that concern the DOC wines. IGT labels represent the first point of distinction between wines with indications and wines without them. There is a possibility to report in former type of label the description of the color, of the vine variety that was used, and the year of grape harvest. At times the designation of IGT is the result of both a commercial choice and the unfitness of the product in satisfying the procedural guidelines for DOC and DOCG, usually due to the winemaking cultivation or the utilized method of production.

ATTENTION! The IGT is now part of the EU IGP classification

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QC

The label Qualità Controllata (Controlled Quality), registered by the Emilia Romagna region,".... is given to companies that decide to produce foodstuffs and breed livestock with integrated production techniques that are respectful of human health and the environment... to production companies, companies characterized by transformative commercial activities which are committed to respecting the appropriate procedural guidelines and that are able to guarantee the quality of the product from its stages of cultivation to its final consumption stage, along the entire production chain. The system of control is entrusted to accredited entities whose responsibility is to verify the correct adherence to the procedural guidelines. QC products can benefit from the available support for the integrated production and for quality products (organic, Dop, Igp, Stg). The list of dealers is updated annually by the Emilia-Romagna region." Source http://agricoltura.regione.emilia-romagna.it/produzioni-agroalimentari/temi/qualita/marchio-qc

 

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De.C.O.

Denominazione Comunale di Origine it the label assigned to the communal administration with the aim of identifying, safeguarding, promoting agricultural and food excellence, along with promoting craftsmanship, all situated within municipal borders. The same commune is committed to marketing and certifying the products as well as following a production procedural guideline and local regulations regarding the label. Naturally, given the communal responsibility in such activities, the symbols must be different for each municipality and subsequently are registered in each Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore they are subject to future inspections by the certifying entity.

EXAMPLES OF LABELS FOUND ON GOOGLE


The EU Organic label

This logo guarantees the organic origins on foodstuffs and beverages: "...it indicates that the producers of the food product- the agricultural workers from which the ingredients were bought- respect the rigorous norms applicable in the EU for organic food products and beverages. The norms... aim to endorse the organic agricultural sector of the EU, the safekeeping of the earth, of biodiversity and of the elevated standards of animal protection ......When producers use the EU organic logo they must indicate on the label the reference number of the certification authority and the name of the last operator- producer, transformer or distributer- that has handled the product. The national labels of organic certification can be used along with the EU logo. The logo remains optional for unpackaged and imported products. The norms regarding organic agriculture and the certification authorities of other countries must be recognized as equivalent to the EU standard to be able to import such organic products into Europe." Source > http://ec.europa.eu/news/agriculture/120704_it.htm  

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Dolphin Safe

The label concerns tuna fishing, attesting that it has been caught in such a way that is safe for dolphin life. The origins of the label date back to the International Dolphin Conservation Program - IDCP), in force since February 1999, under the drive of 15 South American countries, the United States, and the EU. The users of the label are obliged to observe the IDCP when fishing occurs in the Western Pacific, where about 30% of yellow tail tuna and many dolphins end up caught in the same nets. The rules of the International Dolphin Conservation Program indicate extreme rigor in each of the fishing phases - the aim is to free the caught dolphins without damaging them, and monitoring, step after step, the search/catch of the tuna. The adhering nations are responsible for the traceability of the catch.

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 Friend of the Sea

The label Friend of the Sea is an International certificate regarding fish products, which certifies the origins of the fishing activity and of the sustainable farming activity. Consequently, the origins of the catch is verified, controlled, and ECO certified thanks to its positive integration with the environment. This allows the fishing of tuna while safeguarding the life of dolphins. Obtaining the logo Friend of the Sea, means having passed severe examination protocols, all of which are devoted to environmental preservation. Unfortunately, increasingly advanced fishing technologies have altered the biodiversity of the oceans and some species have gone almost completely extinct: the resulting alarm has stimulated the need to make the sector's industry more responsible, also thanks to the push by consumers who want to buy sustainable products. Over one hundred companies, Italian and foreign, are the proud holders of the Friend of the Sea label, linked to about 60 fish varieties for their ECO supply.



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 Fairtrade

This term concerns the very well known label of ethical certification, which is used worldwide and that supports the "c.d.", that is Equal and Ethical Commerce. It has been created with the intention of helping producers of developing countries so that they may sell their goods with commercial transparency and moral honesty established by Fairtrade International. The result obtained tends to increase the standards of life economically, socially and environmentally speaking, while the consumer has the certainty of knowing he/she is acquiring a product- whether it be food, textiles, personal hygiene products- free from the exploitation of humans and natural resources.

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SOURCES

http://ec.europa.eu/news/agriculture/110215_it.htm

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denominazione_di_origine_protetta

http://www.agraria.org/prodottitipici/glossariodop.htm

http://www.imtdoc.it/cms/vini.php?id_testo=134693594285937