what is a Denomination of Origin?

I am sure that on more than one occasion you have heard of the ‘Designation of Origin’ in reference to a particular type of ham, cheese or wine, for example. This term is often associated with higher product quality, but what is a Denomination of Origin?

Wewillstart by getting a little technical. According to the Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs,’Denominationof Origin’ means a name identifying a product:

  • Native to a particular place, region or, exceptionally, country;
  • whosequality or characteristics are essentially or exclusively due to a particular geographical environment, with the natural and human factors inherent therein, and
  • all the production stages of which take place in the geographical area.

To sum upwe could say that a Denomination of Origin is a classification that is used to legally protect some products such as ham. What it encompasses is the area of production and the traditional methods used in it. For the consumer, it guarantees a constant level of quality and specific characteristics.

All the producers who join the Denomination of Origin have to respect some dispositions, regulations, ministerial orders, decrees and Organic Laws. The regulatory boards of each D.O. are the onesresponsible for ensuring compliance with the provisions.

There are currently four Protected Designations of Origin for Iberian ham in Spain:

If we talk about white ham, there is only one Protected Designation of Origin:

  • Protected Designation of Origin of Teruel (Teruel).

Now you know what Denominations of Origin are and which ones existin Spain. So when you go to buy ham, cheese or wine and see that the product has a D.O. label, you will know what that means!