The Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) designates a product whose main production steps are carried out according to recognized know-how in the same geographical area, which gives the product its characteristics. It is a European sign which protects the name of the product throughout the European Union.
The Controlled Designation of Origin (AOC) designates products that meet the criteria of the PDO and protects the name on French territory. It is a step towards the PDO, now a European sign. It can also concern products not covered by European regulations (the case of forest products for example).
It is the notion of terroir that is the basis of the concept of Appellations of Origin.
A terroir is a particular geographical area where a production derives its originality directly from the specificities of its production area. A delimited space in which a human community has built up collective production know-how over the course of its history, the terroir is based on a system of interactions between a physical and biological environment, and a set of human factors. Therein lies the originality and typicality of the product.
The rules for preparing a PDO are written into specifications and are subject to control procedures, implemented by an independent body approved by the INAO.
Historically, it was to fight fraud that the concept of Designations of Origin was gradually built up from the beginning of the 20th century (law of 1905). A decree-law of 1935 relating to the defense of the wine market created the Controlled Designation of Origin, applicable to wines and brandies, and the body responsible for their definition, protection and protection. control. Their field was opened to all agricultural and food products in 1990.
Later, the French policy to promote agricultural products inspired the development of European regulations, which in 1992 established the concept of PDO, the European equivalent of AOC, for products other than wines and eaux-de-vie, and extended it to wines in 2009. Since then, PDO concerns all European wines and agri-food products whose production, processing and development are carried out in a specific geographical area, according to recognized know-how and specific specifications. In order to clarify the offer to the consumer, since January 1, 2012, once registered at European level, the products concerned must only bear the PDO mention, only wines are authorized to bear the French Controlled Designation of Origin (AOC ).