November 29, 2011

International labels protecting food specialities

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Reading my new cooking book, I asked me a question : is it true that, as said Jamie Oliver, England doesn't have any label protecting foods specialities, as the french AOC Label (1)? This question deals with the interests of Consumers who can know what they are eating, its origins, how it is producted, etc. ; the one of Local producers who can increase in value their products, prooving that they follow a special and traditionnal method of production etc. And we know how tourists -but locals so- are fan of this « traditionnal » things. But it also concerns Bigger Producers who have to take care about how they make and how they call there products.

Making some researches I've found that if France is a reference in this matter, having protected his famous cheese and wine for a long time (2), its system - and notably the AOC Label (« Appelation d'origine controlée »)- inspired two international Labels :

The international « Appelation of Origin »

Creaded by the Lisbon Agreement in 1958 , this Label is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It covers « the geographical denomination of a country, region, or locality, which serves to designate a product originating therein, the quality or characteristics of which are due exclusively or essentially to the geographical environment, including natural and human factors »(3). It has currently 27 member countries, among them France, but Germany and England are not part of this organization (4). it protects products like Porto (Portugal), Champagne (France), Tequila (Mexique) - (5). This topic will be re-debate in december 2011 in Genève by the actual working group on the development of the Lisbon System (Appelation of Origin) - (6).

The European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)- in french AOC ("appelation d'origine protégée.")

This Label was introduced in 1992 and is today coverred by a regulation of 2006 (7), which was modified in 2008 (8). It protects, as said in the European Commission website «agricultural products and foodstuffs which are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area using recognised know-how. » (9). Moreover, there are two other relevant labels protecting the goods, the PGI (protected geographical indication) and TSG (traditional speciality guaranteed) (cf. 9). And, as shows the official databases, some english products are protected by this Label like white Stilton cheese, Blue Stilton cheese, West Country farmhouse Cheddar cheese (…). So "Jamie" was wrong : England Protects its food, and particularly his Cheddat! Of course still not so good as France in terms of quantity of products protected (currently 17 english v. 82 french products protected by this label). The quality of the protection allowed doesn't seems to be better either. For instance we can question the power of the well-named "West Country farmhouse Cheddar cheese" label : Do the english consumers really distinguish between this Cheddar and another one?

(PS : Thank you girls for the book!)

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  1. Jamie does... easy twists on classic dishes inspired by my travels, Ed. Pjoseph Michael, 22/04/10, p 284 : « Something France really gets right is the way it fights to protect the heritage and integrity of its food products and producers (…) by the AOC label (appelation d'origine controlée or « controlled term of origin »). (…) I think it's a shame we don't really do that in England. Just think : if Cheddar...».

  2. The first protection was the « Appelation Châteauneuf-du-pape » for wine in 1933.

  3. Lisbon Agreement, art 2 (1) http://www.wipo.int/lisbon/fr/legal_texts/lisbon_agreement.html

  4. About the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, see : http://www.wipo.int/lisbon/en/general/

  5. To search Appelation of Origin (Lisbon Express) : http://www.wipo.int/ipdl/en/search/lisbon/search-struct.jsp

  1. Drafts and notes of the working Group on the development of the Lisbon System (Appelation of Origin) in http://www.wipo.int/meetings/fr/details.jsp?meeting_id=24524

  2. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32006R0510:EN:HTML

  3. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:173:0003:01:EN:HTML

  4. European Commission, Agriculture and Rural Development, http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/quality/schemes/index_en.htm


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