PDOs/PGIs from France and Italy are amending their product specifications to cope with the lockdown

The cat that got his cream

In times of coronavirus lockdown, small farmers from all over Europe are complaining about the near impossibility to sell their products, as restaurants are shutting down and private buyers are not able to reach the farms. 

But the lockdown impact to their businesses goes beyond merely economical. Farmers who make their products under the Protected Designation of Origin / Protected Geographical Indication (PDO/PGI) quality schemes are also facing the threat of not complying with the strict requirements imposed by such PDOs/PGIs. These requirements, laid down in the product specifications, may demand planting seeds before a certain date or fermenting a dairy product for a determined amount of time.

Under EU law, temporary amendments to product specification are allowed by Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 and Regulation (EU) No 664/2014. Unlike regular modifications, they are not subject to any formal approval by the Commission due to their urgency. Such amendments need only be communicated by Member States to the Commission, together with the reasons for them, not later than two weeks following approval. France and Italy have now begun to adopt temporary amendments for affected PDOs/PGIs.

The French PDO “Oignon de Roscoff” (Roscoff onion) has pushed forward the final date for the planting of seeds such that, in order to comply with the PDO specifications, the deadline for the planting period has been extended from 10 April to 20 April.

Labor shortages have led to temporary amendments for the French PDO “Fourme de Montbrison”, a cow's-milk cheese from Southern France. Previously, the storage of milk at the farm could not exceed 48 hours after the earliest milking. Beginning on 25 March 2020 and extending to two weeks after the lifting of the lockdown, the storage of milk on the farm for this cheese can be up to 60 hours.

Similarly, the Italy’s most famous PDO, “Parmigiano Reggiano” has been granted, is now subject to a temporary amendment of specifications, following a request from producers. The milking time of the milk destined for the PDO has been increased from 7 to 14 hours. Breaking the curd and boiling may now take place throughout the day rather than be limited only to the morning hours. This measure has been followed by similar amendments, granted to the PDO “Mozzarella di bufala Campana” and to the PGI “Bresaola della Valtellina”.

In the meantime, local newspapers are reporting that further amendments can be expected in near future, as more and more PDOs/PGIs are affected by the lockdown.
PDOs/PGIs from France and Italy are amending their product specifications to cope with the lockdown PDOs/PGIs from France and Italy are amending their product specifications to cope with the lockdown Reviewed by Anastasiia Kyrylenko on Friday, April 10, 2020 Rating: 5

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