An Overview of the PDO Certification Process

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is a certification system established by the European Union to protect and promote traditional and regional food products. The PDO label guarantees the authenticity, quality, and regional origins of these products, ensuring that they are produced, processed, and prepared within a specific geographical area using recognized know-how and traditional methods. This page provides an overview of the PDO certification process, detailing the steps involved in obtaining this prestigious label and the benefits it brings to producers and consumers.

Understanding the PDO Criteria

To qualify for PDO certification, a product must meet specific criteria that ensure its authenticity, quality, and strong ties to its region of origin. These criteria include:

Geographical origin

The product must be produced, processed, and prepared within a specific geographical area.

Traditional production methods

The product must be made using recognized know-how and traditional methods unique to the region.

Distinct characteristics

The product must possess distinct characteristics attributable to its geographical origin and traditional production methods.

The PDO Certification Process

The process for obtaining PDO certification involves several steps, which are outlined below:


Producers or producer groups from a specific region must submit an application to their national authority, detailing the product’s characteristics, production methods, and geographical origin.

The application must include a product specification that outlines the required standards for production, processing, and preparation.

National evaluation

The national authority evaluates the application to ensure that it meets the PDO criteria. If the application is deemed suitable, the national authority forwards it to the European Commission for further assessment.

European Commission evaluation

The European Commission reviews the application and, if it meets the PDO criteria, publishes the product specification in the Official Journal of the European Union. This publication initiates a period of objection, during which interested parties from other EU Member States may raise objections to the PDO designation.

Resolution of objections

If any objections are raised, they must be addressed and resolved before the PDO designation can be granted. If no objections are raised, or if they are resolved satisfactorily, the European Commission proceeds to register the product as a PDO.

Registration and labeling:

Once registered, the product is granted PDO status and can be labeled with the distinctive PDO logo, signifying its authenticity, quality, and regional origin.

The Benefits of PDO Certification

Obtaining PDO certification offers several benefits to producers and consumers:

Protection of regional heritage

PDO certification safeguards regional culinary heritage by promoting traditional production methods and preserving the unique characteristics of regional products.

Economic support

The PDO label supports local economies by promoting regional products and helping producers differentiate their products in the marketplace.

Quality assurance

Consumers can trust that PDO-labeled products meet strict production standards and possess distinct characteristics tied to their geographical origin.

Increased market value

PDO products often command a higher price in the marketplace due to their guaranteed quality, authenticity, and regional origin.

The PDO certification process is a rigorous and comprehensive system designed to protect and promote the rich culinary heritage of the European Union. By understanding the PDO criteria and certification process, producers can work towards obtaining this prestigious label for their products, ensuring their authenticity, quality, and strong ties to their regions of origin. Consumers, in turn, can make informed choices when purchasing PDO-labeled products, supporting local economies and preserving the unique flavors and traditions of regional cuisine.