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Parliamentary questions
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23 June 2015
Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-005975/2015

The sale in the EU of cheeses labelled ‘Grana Padano’ or ‘Parmigiano Reggiano’ produced outside the defined geographical area set out in the product specifications for these names would be illegal. In the EU, such protected designations of origin (PDO) benefit from wide-ranging protection including against any direct or indirect commercial use by comparable products or insofar as such use exploits their reputation. For such cheeses, EU rules(1) charge Member States with taking the necessary steps to stop unlawful use. Official controls performed by each Member State must cover (i) verification that a product complies with its product specification and (ii) monitoring of the use of registered geographical indications in the market place.

To ensure effective and comprehensive monitoring of controls, the Commission is auditing Member States' official controls' systems. Since 2012, Food and Veterinary Office has performed on average three audits per year and issued recommendations(2). To contribute to establishing a common control culture, the Commission organises trainings and seminars on GI control issues. To strengthen transparency and cooperation between Member States, the Commission regularly updates the list of competent authorities for controls in the marketplace(3) which any natural or legal person may address in case of alleged fraudulent marketing practices.

(1)Articles 35 to 40 of Regulation (EU) 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs, OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, p. 1.
(2)Audit reports are available at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fvo/audit_reports/index.cfm

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