Protected Food Names (PFNs)
The EU Protected Food Name schemes came into force in 1993 and provide a system for the protection of food names on a geographical or traditional recipe basis. This system is similar to the familiar 'appellation controlee' system used for wine. The three schemes (Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographical Indication and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed) highlight regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed through an independent inspection system.
As well as providing a way of helping to preserve our national and regional food heritage there are also good economic reasons to register products under the scheme, Including:
- Legal protection against imitation throughout the EU;
- Increased awareness of the product both locally and throughout the EU (registration provides an excellent opportunity to promote the product, both at home, in other EU Member States and Non Member countries);
- Opportunities to take advantage of consumers' increased interest in regional foods by positioning the product firmly at the quality end of the market;
- The opportunity to get a premium on the product. The results of European wide research has shown that G1 products are sold (on average) 2.23 times as high as comparable non-GI products.
- Greater Potential ability, under EU state aids rules to attract public funding for promotional initiatives and activities.
Who Can Apply?
Applications for each of the three designations can be put forward by groups of producers. Such groups may include other interested parties (for example butchers in the case of applications for meat). Individuals can also put forward applications for either of the two geographical designations (i.e. Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication) if:
- The defined geographical area has characteristics which differ from neighbouring areas; or
- The product has characteristics which are different from those produced in neighbouring areas.
It is important to note that producers who are not part of the original applicant group, but who can show to the satisfaction of the nominated inspection body that their product conforms fully with the registered specification, may use the registered name.