Greece’s Cracks Europe’s Top 5 with 101 PDOs!

Monday, 20 January 2014.

Greece’s Cracks Europe’s Top 5 with 101 PDOs!

With 101 Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) products, Greece is now fifth on the list of European Union member states boasting “officially” recognized gastronomic products. Italy ranks first with 261 products, followed by France with 208, Spain with 173, and Portugal with 123.

For those readers who are not European residents, we must initially begin by explaining the meaning of the labels PDO and PGI, which are listed on select foods and beverages. These are special labels that are used in the European Union to inform consumers that the product in question is unique, owing its distinguishing qualities to the geo-cultural environment (including natural, ecological, and human factors) in which it is produced. And so, every product that meets the strict criteria instituted by EU legislation and bears a PDO or PGI label can only be grown, produced, or processed exclusively in the region listed on the label. In other words, “tomataki Santorinis” (Santorini cherry tomato), for example, –the most recent Greek product to gain PDO status – can only be labeled as such if it was grown on the parched and volcanic soil of this beautiful Greek island, and no place else – even if the same seed was used to plant the product elsewhere in Greece or Europe.

Up until last year, Greece ranked seventh in the EU with 99 PDO or PGI products. It reached 100 with Messara Olive Oil and recently registered its 101st product with Santorini’s “tomataki.” And so, Greece is now “officially” among the top five EU nations boasting the richest local cuisine and the most… original local delicacies, along with Italy (261), France (208), Spain (173), and Portugal (123). Meanwhile, there are also four more pending applications for Greek products: Stafida Soultanina Kritis (Crete Sultanina Raisins), Galano Metaggitsiou Chalkidikis Olive Oil (Chalkidiki Olive Oil), Sitia Kritis Olive Oil (Sitia Crete Olive Oil), and Fasolia Gigantes-Elefantes of Kastoria (Kastoria Giant-Elephant Beans).

PDO by the Numbers The agricultural products exported by the EU are worth 100 billion euro. Of these, 50 billion euro is generated from products with geographical indications. There are a total of 1,100 PDO products in Europe. With regards to Greece’s PDO products, approximately 30 involve olive oil and olives, 20 are cheeses, and 29 are fruits, vegetables, and dry nuts.