Questions & Facts

All about the Labels of Origin

» What distinguishes protected specialties?

» What do the labels PGI and PDO stand for?

» Greater affinity, greater enjoyment

»Protection of origin gives a boost to the regions!

» Application for EU protection of origin: a rough outline of the procedure

What distinguishes protected specialities?

Many Bavarian specialities are true originals.
That means:

    •    They have a long tradition.
    •    They are grown and produced according to traditional processes and recipes.
    •    They have a place of origin – in other words, they are closely related to the place or the region in which they are produced.


•    And they are perceived by consumers as something special and connected to their place of origin. For instance, "Bavaria" is redolent of beer and "Nürnberg" of barbecue sausages

The European Union introduced labels of origin in order to preserve these regional specialities and protect them from imitation.




Only certified manufacturers are allowed (and are required to) print the EU labels of origin on their product labels. Since many labels were printed for a certain period, a grace period until 4 January 2016 will, however, apply.

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)  

Products with PDO labels must be produced, processed and manufactured in the specified region. In other words, all raw materials and ingredients must come from the region.  Specialities that are traditionally refined with exotic spices (e.g. a lot of baked goods or sausages) do no meet this requirement.

Unlike cheese production in the milk region of the Allgäu: If "Allgäuer Bergkäse" or "Allgäuer Emmentaler" is printed on the product, then it contains 100 percent raw milk from the Allgäu.

Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)  

Products bearing the PGI label must be produced and/or manufactured and/or processed in the specified region. The raw materials do not necessarily have to come from the region; this is, however, the case for a series of specialities.
This therefore means: Only asparagus which is cultivated and harvested in the Bavarian production areas according to age-old traditions and with a lot of manual labour may be marketed as "Abensberger Spargel" or "Schrobenhausener Spargel". In addition, Bayerisches Bier (Bavarian beer), Nürnberger Rostbratwürste (Nuremberger sausages) and Bayerisches Rindfleisch (Bavarian beef) are thus also protected against imitations. Neutral certification bodies monitor compliance by farmers and producers and, to some extent, retailers.


Many consumers take a close (closer) look before placing a product in their shopping basket: Actually, where does our food come from? Safe regional provenance signifies added enjoyment. EU protection of origin:

  • promotes affinity in the home region and pride in home specialities.
  • makes regions such as Bavaria,  which maintain and market their specialities with special care, stand out in global markets.
  • invites you on a journey of discovery, and also promotes sustainable culinary tourism in speciality regions of Bavaria, for example.


The EU labels of origin are an important deciding factor when deciding on a purchase. Anyone who pays attention to the products with PGI and PDO labels will not only be rewarded with unadulterated flavours but will also do something for the economy, most notably in the regions of origin. EU protection of origin:

  • gives a boost to Bavarian farmers and producers who cultivate traditional products and methods. Joint marketing of their specialities saves small and medium-sized companies money. 
  • protects Bavarian producers and manufacturers against imitation and abuse. 
  • increases the success of local specialities on domestic and foreign markets. 
  • can contribute to creating and preserving jobs in the region.
  • supports retailers who rely on products with a clearly identifiable origin and region. Competitive retailers can stand out if they sell products bearing an EU label of origin.

Application for EU protection of origin: a rough outline of the procedure

Protective association (e.g. farmers, producers)
  • defines e.g. region of origin, production process, recipes etc.
  • Submit application for EU protection of origin for their speciality
German Patent Office
German Patent Office
  • reviews the contents of the application
  • questions potential stakeholders (e.g. producer associations, state ministries)
In this case the protective association can bring an actionPublication in the Trade Mark Journal provides other stakeholders (e.g. associations from other regions) with another opportunity for review and objections
Ministry of Justice

As a higher ranking authority forwards the application to the European Commission

EU Commission
  • The responsible committee discusses the application
  • Each country had its own processing officer who involves the applicants by possibly asking questions


The protective association can revise the application and resubmit it
  • Publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities
  • 6 months period for objection for other countries with whom the EU has signed a treaty on protection of origin
Due to intense reviews by multiple authorities and the periods of objections, the application procedure for each speciality lasts two to three years.The protective associations distributes and markets its specialities bearing the EU label of origin