EU protected food names: how to register food or drink products

How to apply to have the name of your food or drink product added to the EU protected food name register.

If you’re a food or drink producer, you can apply to the EU to have the name of your product protected under EU law.

This means that another producer can’t market their product using that name unless they both:

  • produce it in the area you have agreed with the EU
  • use the methods you have agreed with the EU

You can also add a wine name to the EU protected wine register

See a list of protected food names registered in the UK and a list of UK applications being considered.

It can take up to 4 years to get the name of your food or drink product legally protected by the EU.

Protection you can apply for

There are 3 protection marks you can apply to the EU for:

  • protected geographical indication (PGI)
  • protected designation of origin (PDO)
  • traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG)

Protected geographical indication (PGI)

To get your product protected under PGI, it must be produced, processed or prepared in the geographical area you want to associate it with.

The EU will only give a product the PGI mark if they decide it has a reputation, characteristics or qualities that are a result of the area you want to associate it with.

Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese or Cornish sardines are examples of foods protected with the PGI mark.

Protected designation of origin (PDO)

To get your product protected under PDO, it must be produced, processed and prepared in one area and have distinct characteristics from this area.

PDOs differ from PGIs in that all 3 production stages must take place in the area you want to associate with the product.

The EU will only give a product PDO status if they decide it was made using distinct local knowledge.

Jersey royal potatoes and Stilton blue cheese are examples of foods protected with the PDO mark.

Traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG)

To get your product protected with the TSG mark, it must have a traditional name and characteristics that distinguish it from other similar products.

These characteristics can’t be due to the area the product is made in or based purely on technical advances used in production.

Traditionally farmed Gloucester old spots pork and traditional farm fresh turkey are examples of foods protected with the TSG mark.

Once protected, your TSG product can be produced in any country within the EU

Eligible products

You can apply to register and protect most food and drink products intended for humans to eat, including:

  • meat, dairy and fish
  • honey
  • fruits and vegetables
  • drinks made from plant extracts
  • bread, pasta, pastries, cakes and biscuits
  • sweets and chocolate
  • beer and cider

If you’re applying for a PDO or PGI protection mark, you can also apply to protect:

  • natural gums and resins
  • hay
  • essential oils
  • mustard paste
  • cork
  • cochineal
  • flowers and ornamental plants
  • wool
  • wicker
  • scutched flax
  • cotton
  • salt

If you’re applying for a TSG protection mark, you can apply to protect:

  • prepared meals
  • beer
  • bread, pastry, cakes, confectionary, biscuits and other baker’s wares
  • beverages made from plant extracts
  • pasta
  • salt

Who can apply

You can apply as an individual food producer or you can form a group with other interested parties, eg someone who supplies you raw materials or someone who sells your product.

You can include as many people as you want in your group.

Make a draft product specification

To apply to have your product name protected, you need to make a draft product specification.

You should make your specification as clear as possible - it needs to show how another producer in the area you associate with the product could make the same product.

Your product name

You must include your product name and the protection mark you’re applying for.

The product name you choose must be in current commercial use and recognised by consumers - you should provide evidence of its commercial use.

Applicant details

You must include:

  • your name and the names of anyone in your applicant group
  • contact details for your group, eg postal and email address, a phone number or a fax number

A group means any number of people working with the same agricultural product or foodstuff.

You can apply as an individual if you meet both of the following conditions:

  • you’re the only producer of the food or agricultural product in the area you want to associate it with
  • the geographical area you define for the product differs substantially from neighbouring areas, or the product itself differs from products made in those areas

If there are are other producers of the same product, the authority you apply to may may ask you to form a group with them.

Your product class

Include the European Commission class your product is in - check Annex XI.

Name your product

Include the name of the product you want to add to the EU protected name register.

If you’re applying for a PGO or PDI mark, the name you use must reference the area you want to associate with the product.

Your product name doesn’t have to reference the area if you’re applying for a TSG mark.

The name you pick should be one that’s already commercially used to describe your product.

You can pick a name that someone else has already trademarked for another product - if your application is successful, that trademark will no longer be valid.

Describe your product

When describing your product, include:

  • details of the raw materials, if relevant
  • the main physical, chemical, microbiological or organoleptic (taste and smell) characteristics

Define the area

Define the area you want to associate with your product name by explaining how the 2 are linked.

Your description should allow other producers or inspection bodies to know where your product is grown and made.

This is only area in which you can produce the product - if you are applying for a PDO mark then all stages of production must happen in this area.

Prove your product’s origin

You should show how your product is produced and that any raw materials, feed or other items you use to make it come from the area you want to associate with it.

You need to explain:

  • the raw materials you use and where they came from
  • why the source of your raw materials matters for your product
  • the criteria raw materials must meet to be used to make your product

You should also explain the records anyone producing your product must keep to:

  • allow someone to trace raw materials and the outgoing finished product traceable back to source
  • show the internal quality checks that the product goes through

Describe your method of production

Your method of production is the way the product must be made for it to use the name you’re applying to protect.

You should describe the local methods that must be used and any variations that you’ll allow.

If your application includes rules that mean the packaging must take place in the area you want to associate with the product, you should describe how this must be done.

You should also explain why you want restrictions about methods of production to be part of your product’s protected status.

Explain the link between specific qualities and characteristics of your product and the area you want to associate it with.

To do this, give details of the geographical area, including natural and human factors that influence the quality or characteristics of the product.

Check the list of protected food products to see how other products have done this.

Nominate an inspection body

You must nominate an inspection body who’ll check that your product matches your description of it.

You should include name of the inspection body along with the following contact details:

  • postal and email address
  • telephone number
  • fax number

The body you nominate must meet the principles of the UKAS accreditation scheme.

Labelling information

Include information about existing labelling requirements which your product may have - eg any producer group logos or local branding.

Where to send your draft product specification

In England

Send your draft product specification to:

Funda Lancaster
Food Composition and Standards Team
Area 3A
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London SW1P 3JR

Telephone: 020 7238 6075
Email: or

In Scotland

Send your draft product specification to:

Claudine Duff
Scottish Government
Food, Drink & Rural Communities Division
B1 Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
Edinburgh EH11 3XD

Tel: 0131 24 49572

In Wales

Send your draft product specification to:

Andrew Martin
Gweithredydd Y Sector/Sector Executive
Is-Adran Fwyd/Food Division
Llywodraeth Cymru/Welsh Government
Sarn Mynach/Sarn Mynach
Cyffordd Llandudno/Llandudno Junction

Ffôn/Tel: 0300 062 5537
E bost/

In Northern Ireland

Send your draft product specification to:

Paddy Thompson
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland (DARDNI)
Room 131
Dundonald House
Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3SB

Telephone: 028 90 524518


The relevant body will assess your application.

They may write to you or arrange a meeting with you if they think your application needs more detail - they’ll work with you to get your application ready to submit to the EU.

If they decide your application doesn’t meet the requirements of the scheme, they can reject it.

National consultation

After you’ve agreed a final version of your application with the relevant body, it must be published for national consultation.

The relevant body will notify any parties who have stated an interest in products that are similar to yours.

Anyone who wants to comment or object must state their intention to do so within 4 weeks of your application being published.

They’ll then have 8 weeks to outline their comment or objections.

The relevant body will deal with objections by discussing them with you and with the person who complained.

Any comments or objections must be addressed before your application can move on to the next stage.

You can see a list of applications that are currently under national consultation.


Once any objections or comments have been addressed and you’ve finished your product specification, you need to nominate a body to check that your production methods meet the standards you’ve set out.

When the inspections are finished Defra will check the results and decide if your application can go further.

Submitting to the European Commission

After Defra has approved your inspection results, you must make a ‘single document’ that provides details of your product.

Defra will check your single document and tell you if they think it needs any changes. When it’s finished they’ll send it to the European Commission.

The commission aims to examine the document in 6 months and make comments or request further information, but the length of the entire process varies depending on the issues they find.

EU consultation

After the commission have examined the single document, they’ll publish it in the EU official journal - interested parties in Europe then have 3 months to lodge a notice of opposition.

If nobody has lodged a notice of opposition after 3 months, the EU will:

  • publish the regulation which gives your product’s name legal protection, in the official journal
  • add the name of your product to its register of protected names

If someone lodges a notice of opposition, Defra will try to resolve it with you and the relevant body in the member state the objection comes from.

If they can’t reach an agreement, the EU standing committee will make the final decision about whether your product can get protected name status.

After your product is protected

Your protection goes on indefinitely once it’s been granted by the EU.

To use a protected name, you must have your production methods inspected at least once every 3 years by your nominated inspection body.

The inspection body must certify them before they can use the protected name on their products.

Changing product specifications

You can apply to have the product specifications of a protected food name changed, if you’re a group with a legitimate interest.

Your application must outline the reasons why you want to change the specifications - contact the person you applied to if you want to do this.


Protected food mark