The protected designation of origin (PDO) is the best European recognition for specific agrifood products, and its link to the region where the product comes from.

In order to be a PDO product, all stages of processing and transformation must take place in a defined geographical area.

The European Union awarded the Protected Designation of Origin status to Grana Padano and Prosciutto di Parma in 1996.



Every producer of Grana Padano must strictly observe the Production Specification provided by the long-standing traditional recipe, approved by the European Union. These regulations establish the cows’ diet, define the production and local milk supply area and meticulously regulate every stage of the production.

In 1996 Grana Padano became one of the first dairy products to be awarded the Protected Designation of Origin status.

Thanks to the PDO mark, Grana Padano is fully recognised as one of those highly appreciated products, which offer consumers very high quality standards.



The name Parma Ham for instance is exclusively reserved to hams produced in Parma according to the strict rules defined by the Consorzio’s specifications, which are based on the ancient tradition of its place of origin; in 1996 Parma ham became one of the first meat products to be awarded the Designation of Protected Origin status.

The essential condition for Prosciutto di Parma to obtain the PDO recognition, is that all operations from the processing of the raw materials till the final product take place in a specific and restricted area. This area, known as “zona tipica”, is the only one in which Prosciutto di Parma PDO can be made; it is located in southern Parma province and has two natural boundaries, rivers Enza and Stirone, east and west, and goes up in to the hills reaching an altitude of 900 metres. Beyond this altitude the area terminates. The “zona tipica” can be defined as the Prosciutto di Parma terroir since here the know how of the traditional production process developed over the centuries and the microclimate is ideal for maturing and ageing the product.

Prosciutto di Parma’s taste and aroma are determined by its production in this area.


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