AOP and IGP: quality labels with character
Many varieties of Swiss cheese are traditional specialities that have a strong connection with their region of origin. And, when there is so much value inside, it is worth making it clear: the AOP (PDO) and IGP (PGI) labels represent two quality seals that guarantee the highest standards in terms of origin, processes and quality.
For generations, cheeses from Switzerland has been produced by cheesemakers with a great deal of passion and dedication. The product is deeply rooted in its region and this has led to something quite special: it has come to represent tradition and origin; the people and their craft. Very few foods are still produced in this way – the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture has recognised this and has thus distinguished it with the two protected quality labels AOP and IGP. Independent certification authorities also ensure that businesses are adhering to the origin, process and quality requirements in the product specification.
To date, Switzerland also produces meat, bread, spirits, fruit and vegetables bearing the labels, alongside cheese. AOP and IGP products always contain their region of origin in their name and thus help consumers to take a stand against standard and mass-produced products by buying products with this certification.
AOP stands for “Appellation d’Origine Protégée”, or “Protected Designation of Origin” (PDO) in English. Products labelled with this mark are produced, processed and refined in a clearly defined region. For AOP cheese, this means that the milk is sourced from the same region in which it is made into cheese and in which the cheese is matured. Twelve different cheeses from Switzerland currently bear the AOP quality seal:
- Berner Alpkäse and Berner Hobelkäse AOP
- Bloder-Sauerkäse AOP
- Emmentaler AOP
- Glarner Alpkäse AOP
- L’Etivaz AOP
- Le Gruyère AOP
- Raclette du Valais AOP
- Sbrinz AOP
- Ticino Alpkäse AOP
- Tête de Moine AOP
- Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP
- Vacherin Mont-d’Or AOP
The IGP quality label is an abbreviation for “Indication Géographique Protégée”, or “Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI) in English. Specialities bearing the IGP seal are either produced, processed or refined in the place of origin. Thus, for example, the meat contained in an IGP sausage can also be sourced from animals bred in a different region.
Want to know more about AOP and IGP?
Which products are currently being considered for AOP or IGP? And what do these certifications mean at the EU or international level? You can find answers to all of these questions and more on the official AOP-IGP website: