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 seven lists of respectively 318, 64, 16, 17, 25, 17 and 711 see IP(96)492, IP (96)555, IP(97)46, IP(97)515, IP(97) 1030, IP(98)58, and IP(98)266 products under the Regulation on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin. This decision added to this list another 12 products. The list includes products from Germany (6), Greece (5) and Italy (1). It covers a meat product, olive oils, fruit and vegetables and beers. The new list of geographical indications and designations of origin is as follows:
A. Products intended for human consumption listed in Annex II to the Treaty
Fresh meat (and offal)
Oils and fats - Olive oil
Fruits, vegetables, cereals
B. Foodstuffs listed in Annex I to Regulation (EEC) No 081/92