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Guide to Italian Food Certifications | What are DOP & IGP Foods?

To protect the uniqueness of certain food products, the European Union has launched legislation, establishing two levels of recognition: DOP and IGP.

These designations are designed to protect the use of the products’ names and to establish their typical characteristics, with the goal of stopping the spread of product imitations and food fraud. These designations help educate consumers in choosing authentic food products by providing information and guarantees in the food’s quality.

Both of these European marks act as a guarantee for the consumer, who knows therefore he’s going to buy quality food, which must meet certain requirements and are produced in compliance with precise specifications.

Denominazione di origine protetta (DOP)

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DOP is a European mark of origin which is attributed to foods whose characteristics depend on the territory where they are produced. The geographical environment includes natural factors (i.e. climate, environmental characteristics) and human factors (technical production handed down over time, mastery of production, know-how), which, when combined, allow to obtain an inimitable product outside of a particular area of production. In order to obtain a DOP product, the stages of production, processing and preparation must take place in a defined geographical area. Producers of DOP products must adhere to strict production rules set out in the specification, and the respect of these rules is guaranteed by a independent control body.

Indicazione Geografica Protetta (IGP)

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IGP is a mark of origin that recognizes food products which have a specific quality, reputation or other characteristic that is closely dependent on the production, processing and/or preparation, developed in a specific geographical area. To obtain the IGP designation at least one phase of the production process must occur in a particular area. Producers of IGP products must follow the strict production rules laid down in the product specification, and compliance with these rules is guaranteed by a independent control body.