The Role of the European Union in PDO Regulation

The European Union (EU) plays a vital role in the regulation and promotion of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) products. Through a series of policies and procedures, the EU safeguards the authenticity, quality, and regional origins of traditional food products, ensuring they are produced, processed, and prepared within specific geographical areas using recognized know-how and traditional methods. This page explores the role of the EU in PDO regulation, highlighting its various responsibilities and the impact of its efforts on both producers and consumers.

Establishing PDO Legislation

The foundation of the EU’s involvement in PDO regulation is the legislation that governs the certification process. The EU has established a comprehensive legal framework to define and enforce the criteria for PDO certification. This framework sets the standards for production, processing, and preparation, as well as the procedures for obtaining PDO status, resolving objections, and ensuring compliance with the certification requirements.

Coordinating the PDO Certification Process

The EU oversees the PDO certification process, working in close collaboration with national authorities in each Member State. The EU’s responsibilities in this process include:

Providing guidance

The EU offers guidance and support to Member States and producers, helping them understand and navigate the PDO certification process.

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.

Evaluating applications

The EU reviews applications submitted by national authorities to ensure they meet the PDO criteria and comply with the relevant legislation.

Resolving objections

The EU mediates and resolves any objections raised during the certification process, ensuring fair and transparent outcomes.

Registering PDO products

The EU maintains a register of PDO products, granting them the right to bear the PDO logo and ensuring their authenticity and quality are protected.

Monitoring and Enforcement

The EU plays a crucial role in monitoring and enforcing compliance with PDO regulations. This includes:


The EU conducts inspections of PDO products, both in the Member States and in the marketplace, to ensure they meet the required production standards and adhere to the product specification.


The EU enforces penalties for non-compliance with PDO regulations, which may include fines, withdrawal of PDO status, or legal action.

Collaboration with national authorities

The EU works closely with national authorities to ensure they have the necessary resources and support to enforce PDO regulations within their respective territories.

Promoting PDO Products

Beyond regulation, the EU actively promotes PDO products to raise awareness of their quality, authenticity, and regional origins. The EU’s promotional efforts include:


The EU provides funding to support promotional campaigns and initiatives aimed at increasing the visibility and recognition of PDO products.


The EU encourages educational programmes and events that highlight the unique qualities and cultural significance of PDO products, helping consumers understand and appreciate their value.

Trade promotion

The EU works to promote PDO products in international trade, fostering new market opportunities for producers and supporting the export of traditional regional products.

The European Union plays a vital role in the regulation and promotion of PDO products, ensuring their authenticity, quality, and strong ties to their regions of origin. By establishing and enforcing strict standards for PDO certification, the EU safeguards the rich culinary heritage of its Member States and supports local economies by promoting regional products in the marketplace. Through its efforts, the EU encourages the preservation and celebration of the unique flavors, traditions, and cultural identities that define Europe’s diverse culinary landscape.