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The French agency in charge of managing geographic indications has just released its report highlighting the organization’s activity for 2017. The French National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) is a public agency of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food, that for more than 80 years has been in charge of managing and protecting France’s official signs of quality and origin: Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographic Indication (PGI), Guaranteed Regional Specialty, Red Label, and Organic Agriculture. As of the end of 2017, more than 1,100 French agricultural products have received protected status under these official labels.

The year 2017 was marked by several important events for the INAO. The European Union recognized 20 new French agricultural products for protection (see complete list below), including the 100th French agro-food product to be protected by PDO status, Kintoa ham.

The INAO also completed the first step in a major project to create a virtual public database of digital cartographic data of all geographic areas included in wine-producing regions protected by PDO status. The first batch of these data was released online earlier this year, including 1,351 localities representing a 95% completion rate for wine grape production. Once this large-scale project is completed, all cartographic data of the INAO for all industries under protection will eventually be made public, thus enabling a more user-friendly way to know those areas. This project is part of a larger initiative launched by the French government, called “The Digital Republic” to make obtaining government data more transparent and easily accessible to the public.

An important mission of the INAO is to stop fake products from benefiting from the reputation of protected products by using their names without meeting the appropriate criteria. In 2017, the INAO launched 14 new cases against products usurping the identity of a protected product (In total, 48 cases were under investigation) and intervened in 770 cases where a trademark registration could have caused consumers confusion with the identity of a product.

Here’s a list of the 20 new products that achieved protected status in 2017:

Protected Designation of Origin:

  • Vézelay (wine)
  • Corrèze (wine)
  • Picpoul de Pinet (wine)
  • La Clape (wine)
  • Terrasses du Larzac (wine)
  • Purple garlic from Cadours
  • Kintoa ham
  • Black ham from Bigorre
  • Lucques de Languedoc (olives)

Protected Geographic Indication:

  • Brillat-Savarin (cheese)
  • Charolais from Burgundy (meat)
  • Raclette de Savoie (cheese product)
  • Whelk from Granville Bay

Red Label:

  • Preserved mackerel
  • Mussels
  • Salmon rilettes
  • Stuffed salmon
  • Geraniums
  • Strawberries