French fruits and vegetables – a focus on quality12-06-2015
France is the third largest producer of fruit and vegetables in the European Union.
In 2013, the country grew 5.5 million tons of vegetables and 2.7 million tons of fruit, a significant volume in addition to the 5.3 million tons of eating potatoes. The State guarantees six labels which allow for easy identification of those which stand out for their quality requirement or origin.
The registered designation of origin (appellation d’origine contrôlée – AOC) is granted to products manufactured entirely in a single geographical area using proven know-how. It guarantees consumers a certified origin and the assurance of quality.
An AOC is granted to 13 fruits and vegetables: Béa du Roussillon potatoes, Chasselas de Moissac grapes, Ardèche sweet chestnuts, Coco de Paimpol beans, Solliès figs, Puy green lentils, Muscat du Ventoux grapes, Grenoble walnuts, Périgord walnuts, Roscoff onions, Cévennes sweet onions, Ile de Ré potatoes and Limousin apples.
Protected designation of origin (PDO)
The protected designation of origin (PDO) is the European equivalent of AOC, protecting the registered name in all European countries. To receive the label, the product must first have been awarded AOC status. The PDO applies to 11 French fruit and vegetables: Béa du Roussillon potatoes, Chasselas de Moissac grapes, Coco de Paimpol beans, Solliès figs, Puy green lentils, Muscat du Ventoux grapes, Grenoble walnuts, Périgord walnuts, Cévennes sweet onions, Ile de Ré potatoes and Limousin apples.
Protected geographical indication (PGI)
The protected geographical indication (PGI), another European label, is awarded to products which are not necessarily produced in their entirety in the geographical region whose name they bear, but are nevertheless linked to the region. The “IGP” stamp appears on 22 fruits and vegetables: Lomagne white garlic, Drôme garlic, Lautrec pink garlic, Landes sand asparagus, Corsican clementines, Nîmes strawberries, Périgord strawberries, Tarbes beans, Adour kiwis, Berry green lentils, Nord lingot beans, Nantes lamb’s lettuce, Guadeloupe melons, Haut Poitou melons, Quercy melons, Lorraine mirabelle plumbs, Vendée mojette beans, Créance leeks, Merville potatoes, Alpes de Haute-Durance apples, Savoie pears and Agen prunes.
The “Label Rouge” (Red Label) is awarded to everyday products whose production conditions assure a higher level of quality than similar products, but which have not been produced with the same expertise. The 24 fruits and vegetables which benefit from this label are: apricots, pink garlic, pineapples, carrots and sand carrots, flageolet green beans, strawberries, haricot beans, white haricot beans, Hayward kiwis, lentils, green lentils, lingot beans, litchis, lamb’s lettuce, ready-to-eat lamb’s lettuce, melons, peaches and nectarines, sand leeks, apples, Belle de Fontenay firm flesh potatoes, Manon potatoes specially for fries, potatoes, Pompadour firm flesh potatoes and greengages.
Traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG)
The traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG) is a European label protecting a traditional recipe. It currently covers only one French vegetable: the traditional French shallot, exclusively produced from an initial bulb (the mother bulb) and grown using proven expertise.
Organic farming (AB)
The AB (agriculture biologique) organic farming label is awarded to products grown in an environmentally-friendly way. It is defined by standard rules across Europe. Imported fruit and vegetables must therefore also meet these requirements (no use of synthetic chemicals and GMO, crop rotation, etc.).
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