Italy has the highest number of quality-seal food products in Europe, new data from national statistics bureau Istat revealed this week.
Italy boasts in fact 248 food products (excluding wines) featuring the Denomination of Protected Origin (DOP), Protected Geographic Indication (IGP), or Guaranteed Traditional Specialty (STG) seals.
To obtain the seal, according to EU law, each product must abide by strict production regulations and geographical restrictions.
The DOP seal is the most rigid, and means the product's ingredients and preparation are specific to a geographic region. Balsamic vinegar, Genoa basil, Asiago cheese, and culatello are examples of DOP products.
The IGP certification traces food specialties back to their geographical origin during at least one phase in production, but not to all phases like the DOP seal. Breasola from Valtellina, Roman artichoke from Lazio, cotechino from Modena, and Borgotaro mushroom are examples of IGP products.
The STG seal is the only one not directly tied to a specific area. Its goal is to preserve and promote food whose production follows traditional methods or recipes. Mozzarella and pizza napoletana are examples of STG products.
For the number of products with EU seals, France came in second at 192, followed by Spain with 161.