The need to protect and give due value to certain local specialities, linked to a specific area or produced using traditional techniques, has led companies to differentiate these products from “generic” ones through the introduction of trademarks and certifications. To protect local food products made in the EC, the European Union has issued a series of guidelines establishing classifications that are recognised by all Member States, these certify the uniqueness of the food product, they ensure its quality and provide information to the consumer.
For example, there are PDO, PGI and TSG classifications
PDO (Protected Designations of Origin) identifies products whose unique characteristics depend essentially or exclusively on the territory where they are produced or on natural factors such as climate or environmental characteristics, or on human factors, such as production techniques that have been handed down through the generations. In Italy two fishery products have received this classification: Scardovari Mussels and the Golden Tench from the Pianalto di Poirino plateau.
PGI products (Protected Geographical Indications) must have at least one part of the production process based in a specific area, such as salted anchovies from the Ligurian Sea, Arctic Char and trout from the Trentino region.
Lastly, TSG products (Traditional Specialities Guaranteed) are obtained using traditional production or transformation methods, or using ingredients/ raw materials that are traditionally used in a specific area.
In Italy, there are also so-called Traditional Agricultural Products (PAT) which include products “obtained using processing, storage and aging methods that have been consolidated over time, they must be unvaried within the area concerned, and they need to have been produced according to traditional procedures for a period of not less than twenty-five years”. These include niche fishery products that are produced in limited quantities and are related to very small areas, so small that PDO or PGI classification is not justifiable, such as soft-shell crabs in the lagoon of Venice, donax clams from the coast near Rome, anchovies from Monterosso in Liguria or scabbard fish from Calabria.