Parmigiano Reggiano: obligatory protection for EU Countries

Satisfaction of the Consortium for the European Parliament approval. Recognition of "mountain products" and Consortiums dedicated to protection and marketing

Reggio Emilia, 13 September 2012 - "Finally the last step has been taken towards the strengthening of the European protection scheme for Parmigiano-Reggiano, Europe's most imitated PDO in the world, and for many other Italian agrifood excellences. It has been a lengthy process that has involved the Consortium for years, and of which today we are welcoming the results". Giuseppe Alai, President of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium, commented the approval of the "Quality Package" concerning PDO, PGI and TSG agricultural products by the European Parliament plenary meeting. 

The first element of satisfaction for the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium is linked to the "ex-officio" protection that binds the EU Member States to monitor and to enforce the protected designations from other countries within their territories. "A decisive step forward - explains Alaifor a protection system that is no longer based on the work of protection bodies to contrast counterfeiting and fraud, but on the Member States' obligation to take action in a logic of reciprocity and, thus of a real European Community". "In recent years - adds the President of the Parmigiano-Reggiano Consortium - we acted dozens of times to crush the misuse of the term "Parmesan" and many other names evocative of our brand, of which we had already got a ban from the Court of Justice. Today, this control and enforcement actions will be deeply simplified, and the most relevant element is the fact that finally a principle of shared responsibility and cooperation between States is established, which protects producers and consumers."

The path to the approval of the "quality package" had been paved in June 2011 by the Agriculture Committee chaired by MP Paolo De Castro, who three months later at a conference in Reggio Emilia had firmly stated: "Without the adoption of reforms that concern the management of production volumes and quality assurance standards - said De Castro - the Parliament will not approve any package proposed." "We are indeed grateful to Mr. De Castro for his tenacity, to   Mr. Herbert Dorfmann and Mr. Giancarlo Scottà, members of the Agriculture Committee , for their commitment and to the supporters of the project, as well as to the rapporteur  Iratxe García Pérez" - stated Alai.

Yet the Consortium’s satisfaction goes further. "The Quality Package - explains the President - clearly establishes the role of Protection Consortiums also in terms of product marketing, thus recognizing the validity of the actions taken at the level of safeguarding producers' incomes. At the same time - and this is a fundamental step for many areas of our country and large parts of the Parmigiano-Reggiano production area - it defines the optional quality terms, opening new ways of marketing, for example, mountain products by establishing the criteria based on which the use of this term is possible, thus avoiding the risk of abuse."