Protected Designation of Origin is an official guarantee of quality. It is synonymous with authenticity and unique expertise, preservation of a terroir and adherence to a recipe inspired by tradition.
It distinguishes a product for which all the production steps are carried out using recognized expertise, and within the same geographical area which gives it its characteristics.
At the heart of PDO status: the notion of origin, in other words, terroir.
Above all, certification celebrates the character and history of a geographical area.
It differentiates a product from others within the same category due to its ties to the place in which it was born and the fact that it is manufactured locally, using ancestral methods. It protects its characteristics in the whole of the European Union and prevents it from being counterfeited. It also rewards the commitment to quality of those who produce it.
Its meaning can be summed up in a few words: respect for a terroir, mankind, tradition.
To be awarded PDO status, a product must be produced:
- in a specific terroir (production site, manufacturing and packaging).
- using longstanding local expertise.
PDO is regulated by the European Community which specifies the geographical area of production, processing and making the product in question. Production conditions and adherence to quality criteria are evaluated by the INAO (National Institute of Origin and Quality) part of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Formerly known as AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée), a French label guaranteeing the quality of French produce, the appellation has, since 1992, progressively been replaced by European PDO certification.
Just like butters, wines, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and olive oil can benefit from PDO status. In France, around fifty dairy products have been awarded the label.