“DOP” (Denominazione di Origine Protetta – Protected Definition of Origin) indicates an agricultural and food product with particular qualities that come entirely from a particular geographical area and follow an approved production method. This process begins with the raw material and continues though to the finished product.
“IGP” (Indicazione Geografica Protetta – Protected Geographical Indication) means a similiar thing, indicating a strict dependence on the land, climate or traditional production process in a given geographic location. The difference to the DOP certification is that, by law, only part of the production needs to take place locally.
These designations are modeled after the wine system (DOCG, DOC and IGT) to preserve the specialty food products of the past. It aims to preserve their survival in tradition and to prevent their debasement by imitators.
Today Italy holds 164 DOP and IGP products – 140 DOP and 83 IGP which include Extra Virgin Olive Oil, fruits, vegetables, cereals, cheeses and processed meats.