Food Law News - EU - 1998

21 January 1998: ORIGIN MARKING - European Commission approves the registration of a sixth list of agricultural and food products

Commission press Release (IP/98/58), 21 January 1998

The European Commission approves the registration of a sixth list of agricultural and food products

The European Commission has adopted a regulation put forward by Mr Franz FISCHLER, Commissioner for Agriculture and rural development, to register 17 names of agricultural and food products under the Council of Ministers approved legislation for the Protection of Geographical Indications (PGI) and Designation of Origin (PDO). Those 17 products are produced in Germany (fresh meat), Italy (meat and meat products, fruit and olives), Greece (olive oil, fruit and vegetables) and the UK (cheese). They are added to the 440 indications already protected by five previous decisions. This registration implies that the use of those registered names is to be confined to producers in a particular area who comply with closely defined rules and criteria for the production of these particular products.

When a food product becomes well-known outside its area of origin, it may find itself competing in the marketplace with imitation products making use of the same name. This unfair competition not only undermines the efforts made by the producer or manufacturer to acquire the good name in the first place, it leaves consumers confused as to which product is genuine and which is a copy. All the Member States have tried to protect such designations by various means (trademark protection, "appellations d'origine", through the legal system, recognition as customary usage, etc.).

In 1992, the European Union introduced legislation on geographical indications and designations of origin in an attempt to harmonize this protection at Community level in the case of all food products other than wines and spirit drinks -already covered by earlier Community legislation - in order to bring some clarity to the market and protect the interests of producers and consumers.

The European Commission already adopted five lists of respectively 318, 64, 16, 17 and 25 see IP(96)492, IP (96)555, IP(97)46, IP(97)515 and IP(97) 1030 products under the Regulation on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin. This decision added to this list another 17 products. The list includes products from Italy (9), Greece (5), Germany (2), and the United Kingdom (1). It covers one cheese, meat, olive oils and fruit and vegetables.

For the United Kingdom, the following is included: Teviotdale Cheese (PGI)

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