How is the quality of Italian and European agri-food products guaranteed?
Guaranteeing the quality of agri-food products is one of the main objectives of European policies in the context of rural development. Even in Italy, the protection of quality is one of the cardinal principles of the agri-food policy, as it is a fundamental tool for protecting numerous products with registered trademarks. The implementation of these principles also includes the strict rules that provide for the labeling of products, which provides for the mandatory indication of the origin of the raw material, in particular for some agricultural products.
Even more stringent is the legislation concerning the denomination of quality of agricultural and food products, with the PDO, PGI, and traditional specialties, subject to the European regulation 1151/2012, which inextricably binds the quality of the product to a specific territory, and the techniques of production/processing reported in a very detailed technical specification.
The PDO mark requires that the entire production process takes place within the territory of reference, while the PGI mark admits that even only one of the stages of the process takes place within the same territory.
The STG brand, on the other hand, stands for traditional specialty guaranteed and is a brand introduced by the EU, aimed at protecting specific products that are characterized by traditional compositions or production methods.
To protect the value of these brands, the Ministry of Agricultural Policies operates, through a specific Department of the Central Inspectorate, which specialized in the repression of agri-food product fraud, in charge of carrying out controls, sampling, and laboratory analyses to combat counterfeiting of protected products.
From the checks carried out, various penalties may arise against companies such as administrative penalties and warnings, to try to remedy any violations detected.
This complex mechanism guarantees the quality of Italian and European agri-food products, protecting the taste of the products and their genuineness, which is a fundamental aspect of the consumers' health.