In the Official Journal of the European Union of 4 March 2016 was published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/303 entering PANE TOSCANO (Tuscan Bread) in the register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications.
The arguments of both opponents are summarized as follows:
wheat harvested in Tuscany would not be different compared to wheat harvested in the rest of Italy; the processing of the grains to obtain the wholegrain flour type is similar to the one that takes place everywhere in Italy and Europe; the name “Tuscan bread” would be commonly used throughout Tuscany for several types of bread, which are presumably not produced according to the process defined in the application; in Italy Tuscan bread would be synonymous of bread without salt.
Despite the oppositions, the application for registration of the name Tuscan bread as a DOP was granted.
- In accepting the request the European Commission states, at first, that
“the name to be registered refers to the product “bread” and not to flour or wheat. It is therefore the product “bread” that is to be focused on, in order to verify whether it possesses the quality or characteristics essentially or exclusively due to a particular geographical environment with its inherent natural and human factors”.
- The European Commission considered that the characteristics of the product were specifically mentioned in the single document and in the product specification, namely
“its keeping qualities, its aroma of roasted hazelnuts, the “neutral”, i.e. unsalted, flavor of its crumb, its crunchy crust, its crumb’s irregular holed and white-to-ivory colour, its high nutritional value and digestibility due to the use of a mixture of different varieties of wheat low in gluten and with the nutritional value of the flour naturally containing the original wheat germ (unlike today’s normal practice of adding the wheat germ during processing), and to the historic absence of salt”.
- These characteristics of the product were ascribed to the “natural and human factors prevailing in the geographical environment of the defined geographical area”.
- With reference to the allegation that, in Italy, TUSCAN BREAD would be synonymous with bread without salt is not supported by any evidence. At the same time, the European Commission stated that
“the allegation that the proposed name PANE TOSCANO is commonly used throughout Tuscany for several types of bread which are presumably not produced according to the process defined in the application is groundless. The fact that a name for which an application for registration is submitted is found to be used with reference to products that are not covered by the rules included in the proposed product specification does not prevent the registration of the name. The purpose of the registration may lawfully be the harmonization of the methods of production of the product marked under a certain name.”
In the light of the foregoing, the European Commission considered that the name TUSCAN BREAD should be entered in the Register of protected designations of original and protected geographical indications.