What is Appellation D’origine Contrôlée (AOC)?


The appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) is the French national designation of origin system.

This system was created in France and inspired the European Union legislation for the protection of origins.

AOC translates to “controlled origin names,” meaning that they are product names based in a specific geographical area whose use is reserved for a particular group of producers.

The AOC is overseen by a state agency, the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO).

French law defines an appellation of origin as “the denomination of a country, region, or locality serving to designate a product that originates there and whose quality or characteristics are due to the geographical setting, including natural and human factors.”

The AOC system is used to protect the names of certain French products, like cheeses, that have a specific origin and quality.

This system ensures that only producers from the designated area can use the AOC name and that the product meets certain quality standards.

The AOC name can only be used on products that are made according to traditional methods and with certain ingredients.

For example, the AOC name “Roquefort” can only be used on cheese that is made in the Roquefort region of France, with milk from Lacaune sheep,

How to apply and obtain (AOC) for a dairy product

In order to obtain an AOC for a dairy product, the producers’ union must develop a proposal defining the acceptable cow breed(s) and feed systems, milk treatments (raw, thermized, etc.), geographical perimeter for production, cheesemaking and affinage (aging) procedures, and equipment dimensions and materials.

The proposal is studied by an INAO commission of civil servants and other AOC cheese professionals, which either accepts it or sends it back for more work on certain points.

When it passes, it is voted into law. From this time on, anyone wishing to participate in producing that cheese by that name must conform to all criteria or face punitive action.

The laws are enforced within the production chain by private audit companies working in agreement with the INAO, and following production, by the French antifraud agency.

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About Maria Brown

Maria loves movies and is a bit of a movie buff. She especially enjoys romantic comedies and comic flicks. Her sweet tooth gets the best of her often, so she loves baking and cooking a variety of dishes. She loves exploring drinks, especially wines.

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