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Italy again first in Europe for PDO, PGI and TSG products
As evidence of its excellence in the fruit and vegetables sector Italy is once again the first country in Europe for PDO, PGI and TSG products. Of 1,241 products recognized by the European Union as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG), 266 (21.4%) are from Italy, compared to 217 (17.4%) from France, 179 (14.4%) from Spain, 125 (10.1%) from Portugal and 78 (6.3%) from Germany.
The dominant category is cereals, fruit and vegetables with 339 (27.3%) products, much more than the cheeses group with 223 (18%) products. Italy leads in this section with 103 references of fruit, vegetables and cereals: 30.4% of the entire category at the European level and 38.7% considering only Italian PDO, PGI and TSG products. These data place Italian cereals, fruit and vegetables products with quality labels ahead of Spain with 58 products, of France with 47 products (13.9% of the entire European category and 21.6%, of the total of French products recognized), of Greece and Portugal with 42 and 25 products each, and of Germany with 20 (5.9% of the category at European level, 25.6% of German production recognized by quality brands).
"These data” - says Massimo Brusaporci, director of Alimos-Alimenta la Salute, the cooperative coordinating the Fruitylife "Fruit and vegetables, healthy and safe" project that promotes the consumption of European fruit and vegetables co-funded by the European Union with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policy – “confirm the importance of Italian fruit and vegetables and the attention to their quality. Buying a product with a European quality label is a guarantee not only of its quality but also of its authenticity. Consumers and food associations are increasingly interested and attentive to the geographical origin of a food product. "
Of the three "quality labels", developed by the European Union with the approval of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 of 14 July 1992 and Council Regulation (EEC) No. 510/2006 of 20 March 2006 (which includes wine-sector products and spirit drinks), two are related to the geographical origin (PDO and PGI) and one to the traditional production methods (STG).
The acronym PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) defines a product originating in a specific region or country whose quality and characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to the geographical environment (a term that includes the natural and human factors) and all the production, processing and preparation of the product must take place in the defined area. The abbreviation PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), introduces a new qualitative level of protection taking into account the development of the industrial sector, with a greater focus on the production techniques than on the link with the territory. Therefore, this label identifies a product originating in a region and a country whose quality, reputation and characteristics can be traced back to their geographical origin, and of which at least one stage of production, processing and preparation takes place in the defined area.
The symbol TSG (Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) is applied to products whose specificity is not due to a defined geographical area but to the tradition and therefore associated to the use of traditional raw materials, of a traditional composition or to the use of a traditional method of manufacture and / or processing.
"The European fruit and vegetable production chain " - says Massimo Brusaporci - " is safe thanks to the monitoring of each step through a rigorous and stringent traceability system, thereby enabling to easily trace back the history (period of harvesting, treatment, etc..) of the product and to the producer of every product package. The European PDO, PGI and TSG labels are a valid guaranty for the consumer, who knows that he has bought quality food, which meet certain requirements and is produced in compliance with precise regulations. Moreover, these quality labels are a protection for the producers against any imitations and unfair competition. The aim of Fruitylife project is to inform and promote the safety and healthiness of fresh European produce and, through information activities, increase the consumption of food essential to a healthy diet, such as fruits and vegetables (the WHO recommends to eat fruit and vegetables 5 times a day or a daily intake of 400 grams). Alimos-Alimenta la Salute, has always been committed to food education, environmental and consumer protection projects, in partnership with other five cooperatives in the agri-food sector (Alegra, Apofruit Italy, Conor, Naturitalia and Orogel Fresco) that are involved in promotional and information activities focused on European fruit and vegetables, for the divulgation of the safety and quality of products coming from a production chain supervised and controlled in every stage ".
To meet the consumer’s need of information the website www.fruitylife.eu provides news on the European production chain of fruits and vegetables, on the safety and quality of products, as well as in-depth information on seasonality, on proper nutrition and on the best way to consume fruit and vegetables with quick and tasty recipes. In the Fruitv section there is a TV channel available dedicated to the Fruitylife project to promote the safety and quality of fruit and vegetables in multimedia format; on Fruitv are visible video interviews explaining what are and where to find the traceability codes, the controls carried out on fruit and vegetables, and how to recognize and buy quality products.
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