The Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) is a quality mark, issued by the European Union on the proposal of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, which defines the products that are identified by the peculiar characteristics related to the application of a specification of production, of which the "historical" origin is proven in the territory declared in the denomination. This recognition for the oil "Born in Sicily" has been achieved thanks to the decisive contribution of the Association for the protection of extra virgin olive oil of Sicily which groups all the regional organizations representing the entire oil production chain, from olive grove to the bottle. The regulation of extra-virgin olive oil IGP Sicilia defines a set of rules that all producers must adhere to and is a valid tool to protect consumers, helping to make counterfeiting more difficult, making it possible to add value to a product that has already on the island, an obvious social and economic importance
"This disciplinary arises from the need to protect our oils and the precious cultivars that Sicily has: we want to avoid counterfeiting but also our extra virgin olive oil is confused with for this reason we have included in the text all the elements that guarantee the traceability of the product and the guarantee that the oil that can boast the IGP Sicilia brand is not only bottled on the island but comes from olives grown and ground in Sicily. To give to the olive production of the whole Sicily a unique identification, also from the point of view of the chemical-physical characteristics, which allows a qualitative leap and an economic redemption for the whole sector, above all for those who cultivate the olive groves ".
The IGP brand is a signature on the recognition of the product born in Sicily and on the enhancement of the specific production of the island. a regional olive-growing system, emulating what has happened in the Sicilian wine sector, which guarantees added value to the image and to all the actors in the supply chain ".
The control of the conformity of production to the specification it's entrusted of the Regional Institute of Wines and Oils of Sicily (IRVOS), Already competent in the subject and certification body recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The disciplinary of extra-virgin olive oil IGP Sicilia marks in 10 articles, with precision, the quality path for the enhancement of the oil of the island, defining the criteria to be followed for an extra virgin olive oil to be identified with this brand of protection.
In particular, the document establishes in Article 2 the varieties of olives from which it must be obtained (Aitana, Biancolilla, Button of Rooster, Brandofino, Calatina, Cavalieri, Cerasuola, Crastu, Erbano, Giarraffa, Lumiaru, Marmorigna, Minuta, Moresca, Nasitana, Nerba, Nocellara of Belice, Nocellara Etnea, Nocellara Messinese, Ogliarola Messina, Olive tree of Mandanici, Piricuddara, Santagatese, Tonda Iblea, Vaddarica, Verdello, Verdese, Zaituna) and in article 3 the production areas. Article 4 must be of fundamental importance
According to Article 5, IGP Sicilia production must come from olive groves cultivated according to the specific methods of the area in which it falls, in order to give the oil itself specific quality characteristics. What has contributed over the years to the excellent reputation of Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, in fact, in addition to the pedoclimatic conditions of the territory and an exceptional microclimate that have given rise to a wide varietal diversification, are the wisdom and ability producers able to use agronomic techniques often handed down from father to son, but improved over time with research and innovation. The olive harvest must take place between September 1 and January 30 and the maximum unit production allowed can not exceed one hundred quintals of olives per hectare. The oil production operations must be carried out within 48 hours of harvesting, exclusively in Sicilian milling plants and the olives must be harvested directly from the plant manually or by mechanical means. Only mechanical or physical processes are allowed for oil extraction and the maximum yield of olives in oil can not exceed 24% (Article 6).
The conformity check of the product to the specification is ensured by the Regional Institute of Wines and Oils of Sicily, which in Article 8, in compliance with the community regulations in force, is appointed control body. The oil IGP Sicilia, when placed on the market, must possess characteristics that must meet, according to Article 9, chemical analysis inherent, among other parameters, acidity (max 0.5% of oleic acid), the number of peroxides (max ≤ 12 Meq02 / Kg), the total polyphenols (≥100 mg / kg) and the Alkyl-esters (<30mg / kg). Finally, Article 10 regulates the labeling and establishes that all packaging operations oils that bear the IGP Sicilia mark must take place within the Sicily Region.
Olive growing in Sicily. Sicily is the third region of Italy for production after Puglia and Calabria, with about 20 million plants on about 185 thousand hectares. The production of olives averaged approximately 3 million quintals, which produce an average of 50 thousand tons of oil with a production turnover of around 220 million euros and 500 million euros for consumption. A sector present in all the Sicilian provinces with a strong presence of biological productions (about 16 thousand hectares of organic olive groves).