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Document 52022XC1129(03)

Publication of an application for approval of an amendment, which is not minor, to a product specification pursuant to Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs 2022/C 452/13

C/2022/8605

OJ C 452, 29.11.2022, p. 44–54 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, GA, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

29.11.2022   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 452/44


Publication of an application for approval of an amendment, which is not minor, to a product specification pursuant to Article 50(2)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs

(2022/C 452/13)

This publication confers the right to oppose the amendment application pursuant to Article 51 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council (1) within three months from the date of this publication.

APPLICATION FOR APPROVAL OF AN AMENDMENT TO THE PRODUCT SPECIFICATION OF PROTECTED DESIGNATIONS OF ORIGIN/PROTECTED GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS WHICH IS NOT MINOR

Application for approval of an amendment in accordance with the first subparagraph of Article 53(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012

‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’

EU No: PDO-IT-0559-AM01 – 23.12.2021

PDO (X) PGI ( )

1.   Applicant group and legitimate interest

Consorzio Tutela Ricotta di Bufala Campana DOP [‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO Protection Association] with registered office at Regie Cavallerizze – Reggia di Caserta, Via R. Gasparri 1, Caserta, and email consorzio.ricotta@legalmail.it.

The Consorzio Tutela Ricotta di Bufala Campana DOP [‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO Protection Association] is made up of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ producers and is entitled to submit an amendment application pursuant to Article 13(1) of Decree No 12511 of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy of 14 October 2013.

2.   Member State or Third Country

Italy

3.   Heading in the product specification affected by the amendment(s)

Name of product

Description of product

Geographical area

Proof of origin

Method of production

Link

Labelling

Other: Details of the control body. Packaging.

4.   Type of amendment(s)

Amendment to product specification of a registered PDO or PGI not to be qualified as minor in accordance with the third subparagraph of Article 53(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012.

Amendment to product specification of a registered PDO or PGI for which a Single Document (or equivalent) has not been published not to be qualified as minor in accordance with the third subparagraph of Article 53(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012

5.   Amendment(s)

Description of product

This amendment relating to the fat content of the product concerns Article 2 of the product specification and point 3.2 of the single document.

Current version:

‘fat on a dry basis: minimum 45 %’

‘fat content: not less than 12 % on a wet basis’.

New version:

‘minimum fat content on a dry basis 20 %’

‘fat content: not less than 4 % on a wet basis’.

The aim of this proposed amendment is to allow ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO to be placed on the market with a minimum fat content of 20 %. Ricotta, including low fat versions thereof, is in high demand on the market. The previous fat content thresholds were based on the use of whey with a particularly high fat content. This is because the technologies and tools employed to break the curds used to result in a lot of the fat in the whey being lost (no longer the case) and/or because milk and/or cream used to be added to the whey.

The minimum fat content value of the ricotta is lower because the whey being processed is lower in fat, and milk and/or cream are no longer being added. Whey with these characteristics is achieved by taking care to break the curds earlier on in the process, or by adjusting the fat content without adding milk and/or cream to the preparation. Ricotta with a lower fat content appeals to a growing range of consumers keen to balance nutrition and gastronomic pleasure without compromising on the taste for which the product has always been known. This is thanks to the fact that the product has the same fresh and delicately mild taste and the typical fragrant aroma of Ricotta made solely from whey. It is the whey that conveys the taste and smell of the product, while the addition of milk and cream makes these properties more perceptible. The addition of milk and/or cream makes these characteristics more readily perceptible in the product.

This amendment relating to the moisture content of the product concerns Article 2 of the product specification and point 3.2 of the single document.

Current version:

‘moisture: not exceeding 75 %’.

New version:

‘moisture: not exceeding 80 %’.

The significant reduction in the minimum fat threshold leads to a physiological increase in the maximum permissible moisture value.

This amendment relating to the lactic acid content of the product concerns Article 2 of the product specification and point 3.2 of the single document.

Current version:

‘lactic acid: not exceeding 0,3 %’.

New version:

‘lactic acid: not exceeding 0,4 %’.

The request for the maximum threshold of lactic acid to be increased slightly from 0,3 % to 0,4 % follows on from the request for the use of ‘first whey’ with an acidity of 5 oSH/50 ml instead of 3,5 °SH/50 ml to be allowed. The reasons for this are explained in the next point on the amendment concerning Article 5 of the product specification and point 3.3 of the single document.

This amendment relating to the sodium content concerns Article 2 of the product specification and points 3.2 and 3.3 of the single document.

Current version:

‘sodium content: not exceeding 0,3 %’.

New version:

‘sodium content: not exceeding 0,4 %’.

The proposal to raise the maximum sodium content value to 0,4 % is being made in order to ensure that the product obtained has the right characteristics in terms of flavour, particularly in light of the fat content having been reduced.

Method of production

Raw materials

This amendment relating to the possibility of lactose hydrolysis in the raw material concerns Article 5 of the product specification and points 3.2 and 3.3 of the single document.

Current version:

‘The “first whey” (or “sweet whey”) must be obtained by draining the broken curds being used to produce “Mozzarella di Bufala Campana”’.

The following sentences have been added:

‘The “first whey” (or “sweet whey”) must be obtained by draining the broken curds being used to produce “Mozzarella di Bufala Campana”. The milk used to produce “Mozzarella di Bufala Campana” may have undergone lactose hydrolysis, or the lactose contained in the “first whey” obtained from milk with non-hydrolysed lactose may be hydrolysed.’

This amendment is being proposed with the intention of making the production process for ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO separate from that of lactose-free ‘Mozzarella di Bufala Campana’ PDO, which is the only product for which the whey is already free of lactose following its hydrolysis in the milk. However, the markets for these two products are not necessarily closely linked, because ‘Mozzarella di Bufala Campana’ PDO is a cheese that already has a naturally low lactose content, which can also be suitable for consumers with only mild intolerance. However, the much higher lactose content in the ricotta means it has to be hydrolysed in order for it to be suitable for consumers with lactose intolerance. The option of using suitable enzymes (lactase) to hydrolyse the whey obtained from all of the milk used in the process of making ‘Mozzarella di Bufala Campana’ PDO would therefore make it possible to manage the amount of lactose-free ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO being produced in accordance with market demand without it being tied to the limited availability of whey obtained exclusively from the production of lactose-free ‘Mozzarella di Bufala Campana’ PDO.

This amendment relating to the maximum titratable acidity of the raw material concerns Article 5 of the product specification and point 3.3 of the single document. This amendment also entails an editorial amendment to point 5 of the single document (Link).

Current version:

‘The maximum titratable acidity of the whey used for the production of “Ricotta di Bufala Campana” PDO is 3,5 °SH/50 ml.’

New version:

‘The maximum titratable acidity of the whey used to produce “Ricotta di Bufala Campana” PDO is 5,0 °SH/50 ml.’

This amendment to the maximum titratable acidity from 3,5 oSH/50 ml to 5 oSH/50 ml is being proposed because it has been observed that the acidity of the ‘first whey’ when the curds are broken is often higher than 3,5 oSH/50 ml in summertime, because the higher ambient temperature increases the acidifying activity of the complex microbiota in the natural whey. Given its intrinsically mild sweetness, the slight increase in the acidity of the whey used to produce the ricotta does not lead to changes in the sensory properties of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO that would be perceived by a regular consumer. Keeping the previous acidity value for the whey would rule out the use of a significant volume of whey produced in summertime, thereby running the risk of reduced availability of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO at that time of year. This rule has a greater impact on small holdings that are less well equipped with environmental conditioning systems.

This amendment relating to the addition of salt concerns Article 5 of the product specification and points 3.2 and 3.3 of the single document.

Current version:

‘Adding salt directly to the whey not only gives the product more flavour, it also influences the protein denaturation and coagulation processes and therefore the consistency of the product.’

The following sentence has been added:

‘Salt may also be added directly to the ricotta that has already been extracted and drained before the second smoothing and/or thermal stabilisation treatment, as long as the maximum overall NaCl content is compliant with Article 2 of this specification.’

This proposal would make it possible to ensure that the finished product contains the right amount of salt as a result of a simple mixing operation. On the other hand, if salt may only be added to the raw material, the salt content of the resulting ricotta will depend on more complex phenomena (e.g. moisture content of product, interactions between NaCl and proteins) which are not as easily managed to ensure the same result each time.

This amendment relating to the heating temperature concerns Article 5 of the product specification. However, this amendment does not affect the single document.

Current version:

‘The heating stage is complete when a temperature of not more than 92 oC is reached.’

New version:

‘The heating stage is complete when a temperature of not more than 96 oC is reached.’

The proposal to increase the maximum temperature of this stage in the process from 92 oC to 96 oC is being made to optimise the characteristics of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO, particularly in light of its use as an ingredient in other foodstuffs, either in cooking or in the food processing industry. On the one hand, this higher temperature enables higher and more effective protein aggregation and better protein recovery. On the other, as the whey is separated more effectively, moisture levels are reduced and the ricotta is better able to hold its own residual moisture. This means it is less likely to seep into other ingredients, when used for example as an ingredient in fresh pasta with fillings or in confectionery.

This amendment relating to the ricotta separation stage concerns Article 5 of the product specification. However, this amendment does not affect the single document.

Current version:

‘The ricotta is separated either by hand using a slotted spoon to gently place the moist curds directly in the typical colanders made of food grade plastic or in cheesecloths, or by mechanical means, using extraction equipment.’

New version:

‘The ricotta is separated either by hand using a slotted spoon to gently place the moist curds directly in the typical colanders made of food grade plastic or in cheesecloths, or by mechanical means, using extraction equipment that also allows for rapid separation of the whey, immediately followed by packaging while still hot.’

The purpose of this proposed amendment is to specify that when mechanical extraction takes place, it is accompanied by faster drainage of the whey, which allows the ricotta to be packaged while hot. Speeding up this stage in the production process reduces the time the draining ricotta is in contact with the environment, thereby protecting against the possibility of environmental post-contamination. This proposal does not therefore entail any changes to the process and its sole purpose is to provide more accurate information on the method of production.

This amendment relating to the ricotta separation stage concerns Article 5 of the product specification. However, this amendment does not affect the single document.

Current version:

‘The ricotta placed in the colanders or cheesecloths therefore continues to drain until all the whey has been separated, at which point it reaches its definitive consistency.’

New version:

‘The ricotta placed in the colanders or cheesecloths, however, therefore continues to drain until all the whey has been separated, at which point it reaches its definitive consistency.’

This amendment consists of adding the word ‘however’. This amendment merely entails the addition of a word to make the sentence easier to understand, as it compares it to the alternative system of mechanical extraction and packaging while hot.

This amendment relating to the ricotta cooling techniques concerns Article 5 of the product specification. However, this amendment does not affect the single document.

Current version:

‘If the ricotta is not packaged immediately, cooling continues until the temperature of +4 °C is reached in a cold store; if the ricotta is packaged, however, cooling continues until the temperature of +4 °C is reached in a cold store or in a water and/or ice bath.’

New version:

‘If the ricotta is not packaged immediately, cooling continues until the temperature of +4 °C is reached in a cold store; if the ricotta is packaged, however, cooling continues until the temperature of +4 °C is reached in a cold store, in a water and/or ice bath or using other functional cooling systems to speed up the cooling process.’

This amendment is being proposed to allow the use of other cooling techniques (for example, passing the packages through tunnels cooled with cold air via forced circulation, including at temperatures below zero, nitrogen vapour or carbon dioxide, etc.) that make it possible to lower the temperature faster, without causing the product to freeze or changing its structural characteristics (e.g. without the texture becoming gritty).

This amendment relating to when the term ‘fresca’ [fresh] may be used concerns Article 5 of the product specification and point 3.2 of the single document.

Current version:

‘The maximum shelf life of the “fresca” [fresh] variety of “Ricotta di Bufala Campana” may not exceed 7 days from the production date’.

New version:

‘The maximum shelf life of “Ricotta di Bufala Campana” made by undergoing a single heat treatment for the proteins in the raw materials to coagulate and wishing to qualify for the addition of the “fresca” [fresh] term, may not exceed 7 days from the production date.’

The proposed amendment seeks to make it clearer that the option of using the supplementary term ‘fresca’ is linked to the maximum shelf life and conditional on the product undergoing only one heat treatment. The definition in the previous version of the product specification could have implied that any ricotta obtained by undergoing a single heat treatment would qualify as being the ‘fresca’ variety and have a maximum shelf life of 7 days. However, when the ricotta is separated using extraction systems with rapid drainage and packaging while hot at a temperature of more than 60 oC, the shelf life can be extended. In this case, the producer has to choose whether to use the term ‘fresca’ and limit the shelf life to 7 days or to opt for a longer shelf life, which must always be shorter than the maximum shelf life set out for ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO unless otherwise specified.

This amendment relating to the product’s shelf life concerns Article 5 of the product specification and point 3.2 of the single document.

Current version:

‘With a view to achieving ricotta with a longer shelf life (maximum of 21 days from the production date), the ricotta drained of the whey must undergo heat treatment prior to the packaging stage. The ricotta is then smoothed or homogenised in order to give it a creamier appearance. The product thus obtained is defined as “Ricotta di Bufala Campana”“fresca omogeneizzata”. The ricotta may be packaged while still hot (machine-assisted also permitted) in plastic containers that are immediately heat-sealed. The packaged ricotta is then cooled rapidly until the temperature of +4 °C is reached in a cold store or in a water and/or ice bath.’

New version:

‘With a view to achieving ricotta with a longer shelf life (maximum of 30 days from the production date), the ricotta drained of the whey may also undergo heat treatment prior to the packaging stage. This may sometimes be preceded by a smoothing or homogenisation procedure to give it a creamier appearance. The product thus obtained is defined as “Ricotta di Bufala Campana”. In this case the ricotta may be packaged while still hot (machine-assisted also permitted) in plastic containers that are immediately heat-sealed. The packaged ricotta is then cooled rapidly until the temperature of +4 °C is reached in a cold store, in a water and/or ice bath or using other functional cooling systems to speed up the cooling process.’

i)

It has been proposed to increase the maximum shelf life from 21 to 30 days to extend the period in which the product can be sold. The product has been found to retain its properties even in combination with the increase in the maximum temperature of the process (from 92 oC to 96 oC) and it has also been confirmed that the longer shelf life does not lead to a noticeable increase in bacilli spores germinating. It is possible for the shelf life to be extended to 30 days as a result of the packaging technology (e.g. homogenisation and pasteurisation of the product) developed at holdings.

ii)

The words ‘may sometimes’ have been added in reference to the smoothing and homogenisation procedure, to make it clearer that this operation is optional.

iii)

This amendment provides that the words ‘fresca omogeneizzata’ must be deleted. This amendment is being proposed because these words might make it seem as if the smoothing and homogenisation operation were obligatory. However, the product can have a longer shelf life without having undergone the smoothing or homogenisation procedure, if it is decided that it should retain its more ‘grainy’ appearance and consistency. To avoid confusion, particularly in light of the request to increase the shelf life, it has been proposed that the words ‘fresca omogeneizzata’ be deleted. Adding a new product subcategory for ricotta packaged at a high temperature but which has not been homogenised would also be difficult for consumers to grasp.

Labelling

This amendment on the labelling particulars concerns Article 8 of the product specification and point 3.6 of the single document.

Current version:

‘“Ricotta di Bufala Campana” PDO must be wrapped in paper and packaged in thermosealed food grade plastic containers or in other food grade packaging. If the product is sold for use as an ingredient in processed food, packs weighing up to 40 kg are allowed.

In addition to the designation logo, the EU graphic symbol and the information required by law, the packaging must state the following in clear and legible print:

the words “fresca” or “fresca omogeneizzata” in accordance with Article 5 of this specification. The words “fresca” or “fresca omogeneizzata” must appear immediately below the designation “Ricotta di Bufala Campana” in a font 50 % the size of that which is used for the designation “Ricotta di Bufala Campana”’.

New version:

‘“Ricotta di Bufala Campana” PDO must be prepackaged at source in the production facility. Paper, plastic containers or other food grade materials may be used. Depending on the materials, the packaging may be closed by twisting or with a heat or vacuum seal. If the product is sold for use as an ingredient in processed food, packs weighing up to 40 kg are allowed.

In addition to the designation logo, the EU graphic symbol and the information required by law, the packaging must feature the words “Ricotta di Bufala Campana DOP” [PDO] in clear and legible print, as well as the following additional indications:

the word “fresca” in accordance with Article 5 of this specification. The word “fresca” must appear immediately below the designation “Ricotta di Bufala Campana” PDO in a font 50 % the size of that which is used for the designation “Ricotta di Bufala Campana” PDO.’

This proposal is being made in light of the amendments made to Article 5.

The requirement for pre-packaging at source at the production facility has been added to the product specification with a view to ensuring product quality, safety and conformity.

The proposal to make it possible for materials other than plastic to be used is intended to improve the sustainability of the process. The purpose of specifying that the product can be closed with a vacuum seal is to provide more transparent information on product packaging options to consumers.

Other

Checks

This amendment relating to checks concerns Article 7 of the product specification. However, this amendment does not affect the single document.

Current version:

‘The conformity of the product to the specification is monitored by a control body, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 10 and 11 of Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006. The details of this control body are as follows: CSQA Certificazioni Srl – Via San Gaetano, 74 - 36016 Thiene (VI) – Tel. +39-044-531301,1 Fax +39-0445-313070 Email csqa@csqa.it’

New version:

‘The conformity of the product to the product specification is monitored by a control body, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 10 and 11 of Council Regulation (EC) No 510/2006. The details of this control body are as follows: DQA Cerificazioni srl – Via Bosio 4, Rome; Tel. +39 0646974641; Email: info@dqacertificazioni.it.’

The details of the control body have been updated to indicate the new control body.

Packaging

This amendment on packaging concerns Article 8 of the product specification and point 3.5 of the single document.

Current version:

‘“Ricotta di Bufala Campana” PDO must be wrapped in paper and packaged in thermosealed food grade plastic containers or in other food grade packaging. If the product is sold for use as an ingredient in processed food, packs weighing up to 40 kg are allowed.’

New version:

‘“Ricotta di Bufala Campana” PDO must be pre-packaged. Paper, plastic containers or other food grade materials may be used. Depending on the materials, the packaging may be closed by twisting or with a heat or vacuum seal. If the product is sold for use as an ingredient in processed food, packs weighing up to 40 kg are allowed.’

This proposed amendment aims to enable producers of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO to adapt the packaging stage to developments in packaging technology and the use of materials with better technical characteristics and which are more sustainable. Allowing the product to be packaged with a vacuum seal also contributes to extending its shelf life. Lastly, prepackaging is only allowed at the production facilities for reasons of food safety and to enable accurate monitoring by the control body for the PDO.

SINGLE DOCUMENT

‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’

EU No: PDO-IT-0559-AM01 – 23.12.2021

PDO (X) PGI ( )

1.   Name(s) [of PDO or PGI]

‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’

2.   Member State or Third Country

Italy

3.   Description of the agricultural product or foodstuff

3.1.   Type of product [listed in Annex XI]

Class 1.4. Other products of animal origin (eggs, honey, various dairy products except butter, etc.)

3.2.   Description of product to which the name in (1) applies

‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is a fresh, i.e. not matured, dairy product made through heat coagulation of the protein in buffalo milk whey, a raw material that is a by-product of buffalo mozzarella. ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is characterised by a high water content (less than 80 %), and a fat content on a wet basis of not less than 4 %. The high water content and the fat content that remains significant (minimum 20 % on a dry basis) are responsible for the product’s specific properties of softness and creaminess. ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is also characterised by the typical sweet and fragrant taste of the buffalo milk used to produce the Mozzarella and the fresh derivatives thereof, such as the ‘sweet’ whey and the fresh cream from the whey, on account of the negligible fermentation acidity (not exceeding 0,4 % lactic acid) and limited sodium content (not exceeding 0,4 %). ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is released for consumption as a porcelain-white, rindless product in a truncated pyramid or truncated cone form weighing a maximum of 2 000 g and with a soft, grainy but not gritty consistency. It has a distinctive, fresh, and delicately mild taste and it smells of milk and cream. These properties are more readily perceptible in the higher fat product. ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is also sold in the ‘fresca’ category, which has a maximum shelf life of 7 days. ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO with the whey drained off can undergo heat treatment or even a smoothing or homogenisation process to make it creamier and extend its shelf life (maximum 30 days from the production date).

A lactose-free version of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO (for which the ingredients undergo prior lactose hydrolysis) is also available on the market.

3.3.   Feed (for products of animal origin only) and raw materials (for processed products only)

Lactating buffaloes are fed with fresh and/or dry fodder of which at least half originates from the area referred to in Article 4, thus maintaining the vital link between this product and the area. The following plants provide the main sources of fodder in the meadows and pastureland of this area: Sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia); Sulla (Hedysarum coronarium L.); Persian clover (Trifolium resupinatum); Squarrose clover (Trifolium squarrosum L.); Egyptian clover (Trifolium alexandrinum); Vetch (Vicia sativa); Rescuegrass (Bromus catharticus); Birdsfoot. In addition, the use of simple or complex feed concentrates with permitted mineral and vitamin supplements is allowed.

The raw material for the production of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is the ‘first whey’ (or ‘sweet whey’) that is the by-product of processing buffalo milk, obtained by manually or mechanically milking buffalos of the Italian Mediterranean breed reared in the production area referred to in point 4. The ‘first whey’ (or ‘sweet whey’) must be obtained by draining the broken curds being used to produce buffalo mozzarella. The maximum titratable acidity of the whey used for the production of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is 5 °SH/50 ml, which means that the ‘acid whey’ resulting from the complete maturation of the curds cannot be used for the production of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO. Raw, heat-treated or pasteurised buffalo milk from the area referred to in point 4 may be added up to a maximum proportion of 6 % of the ‘first whey’ (or ‘sweet whey’) used. Fresh cream from buffalo milk whey produced in the area referred to in point 4 may be added up to a maximum proportion of 5 % of the first whey used. Such non-mandatory additions serve to thicken the consistency of the ricotta and facilitate its formation or extraction. The ingredients used to produce lactose-free ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ undergo prior lactose hydrolysis.

Salt (NaCl) may be added up to a maximum proportion of 1 kg per 100 kg of ‘first whey’ (or ‘sweet whey’) or of a mixture of whey with milk and/or fresh cream. Salt (NaCl) may also be added directly to the extracted and drained ricotta, as long as the final maximum content of sodium does not exceed 0,4 g per 100 g of product.

3.4.   Specific steps in production that must take place in the identified geographical area

The production of the milk, whey and fresh cream from the whey, as well as of the ricotta, must all take place within the area referred to in point 4.

3.5.   Specific rules concerning slicing, grating, packaging, etc. of the product the registered name refers to

As an unfermented, rindless product, ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is 100 % edible and particularly prone – perhaps more so than other fresh dairy products – to the risk of post contamination and spoiling due to an increase in the environmental micro-organisms that could come into contact with the product surface during the final stage of draining the ricotta. As a fresh product, ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is not matured and therefore all microbial growth must be avoided during the shelf-life period. In order to avoid the risk of deterioration, the product should be packaged inside the certified production facility. ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO must be wrapped in paper and packaged in closed food grade plastic containers or in other food grade packaging with a heat or vacuum seal. If the product is sold for use as an ingredient in processed food, packs weighing up to 40 kg are allowed.

3.6.   Specific rules concerning labelling of the product the registered name refers to

In addition to the designation logo, the EU graphic symbol and the information required by law, and depending on the type of packaging, the label must where applicable feature the word ‘fresca’ in clear and legible print, immediately below the designation ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO, in a font 50 % the size of that which is used for the designation ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’.

It is prohibited to add any descriptor not expressly provided for, including the adjectives ‘fine’ [fine], ‘scelto’ [choice], ‘extra’ [extra], ‘selezionato’ [selected], ‘superiore’ [superior], ‘genuino’ [genuine] or any others praising the product. However, the use of brand names is permitted, provided they have no laudatory purport and are not likely to mislead the consumer. Other truthful and verifiable references permitted under current legislation may also be used. The words ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana DOP’ must appear in Italian.

The logo for the designation must be issued by the control body, as instructed by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy. The product logo is a loop of tri-colour ribbon encircling the outline of a buffalo head. The above is encircled by the words ‘RICOTTA DI BUFALA CAMPANA’ in capital letters.

Image 1

4.   Concise definition of the geographical area

The production area for ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO includes part of the administrative territory of the Regions of Campania, Lazio, Apulia and Molise, as detailed below. In Campania, it mostly consists of the area surrounding the rivers Garigliano and Volturno and located between the Sele river plain and the area of Cilento, i.e. along the coast and in the valleys. In Lazio, it is concentrated between the Amaseno river valley and the Pontina plain nearby. In Apulia, it concerns the strip of plains and hills in the province of Foggia in the foothills of the Gargano promontory. In Molise, the only municipality concerned is Venafro, which has only recently come under Molise’s administrative management. It had always been part of the renowned ‘Terra di Lavoro’ area comprising all of present-day Caserta province. In centuries past, it was an acclaimed hunting ground for the Kingdom of Naples under the Bourbons.

5.   Link with the geographical area

The orographic, soil and climatic conditions of the territories listed in point 4 are the main factors that have been conducive to the spread of buffalo farming in these areas. The morphological characteristics of the buffalo make it ideally suited to coping with environmental hardship and to being farmed in areas with a typically Mediterranean macroclimate. The pedological characteristics of the plains, whose soil is of alluvial origin and/or originally marshy or swampy, and of the hills, where soils of volcanic origin are widespread, combined with the macroclimate typical of this part of the Mediterranean, have dictated which plants grow wild and/or are cultivated in the fields and meadows and the choice of straw of various kinds used to feed the buffalo. This land has for centuries constituted a single territorial, political and administrative unit, as the Kingdom of Naples from 1282 until 1860. One of the defining features shared by these territories is that they have been used for centuries to raise buffalo to produce milk for making cheese and ricotta. Even after the draining of the swampy areas and the political and administrative changes that have taken place, the geographical area has retained many common features, including the tradition and development of a strong productive district in the form of hundreds of buffalo farmers and cheesemakers. According to the data of the National Database of the Livestock Register for Teramo (2008), 92 % of Italy’s Mediterranean breed buffalo are to be found in this area.

‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ can be distinguished from other products belonging to the same category and, more specifically, from other varieties of ricotta, on account of the specific structural characteristics of creaminess and softness, for its white porcelain colour, and the unmistakable sensory properties that may be described as the scent of milk and sweetness. This product is unique because the composition of buffalo milk whey (fats and proteins) is qualitatively and quantitatively different from the cow’s and sheep’s milk whey used to produce other types of ricotta. It even has distinct aromatic characteristics that are attributable to the natural starter whey used for the production of buffalo mozzarella whose characteristics, including aromatics, are proportionally transferred into the sweet whey used for the production of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO. The whey starter may contain aromatic ingredients naturally present in the milk, as well as ingredients not present in the milk but produced by native microflora as the starter culture is produced. The high fat content on a dry basis and the unique characteristics of the triglycerides in buffalo milk (in which fatty acids are esterified to different positions than in cow’s milk) help determine the very specific physical and organoleptic characteristics, such as creaminess and softness, while preserving all the aromatic components. The absence of beta-carotene in buffalo milk is one of the reasons for the typical white porcelain colour of buffalo milk and cheeses, including ricotta, as opposed to dairy products made from cow’s milk. ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is different from ricotta made from sheep’s milk. This is because many sheep’s milk cheeses are made using solid rennet, the high lipase content of which can affect the sensory properties of the fat. Lack of lipolysis is therefore a characteristic trait of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO that has the effect of heightening its sweetness and milky aroma. Prohibiting the use of whey during the acidification process and including specific requirements on the maximum shelf-life in the production process are two related safeguards that ensure and maintain this product’s specific characteristics, which are unique throughout the whole range of ricotta-type products. To guarantee the distinctive mild and fragrant milk taste characterised by the absence of acid notes, only the ‘first whey’ (or ‘sweet whey’), separated immediately after the curds have been broken and therefore characterised by a maximum titratable acid content of 5 °SH/50 ml, can be used. The ‘acid whey’, produced by draining the whey after breaking the curds as they are maturing, cannot be used for the production of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO, as the high level of lactic acid would not bring out the specific characteristics of the ricotta or would make it necessary to add alkalis as neutralising agents, which would affect the taste, structure and consistency. ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO is therefore also distinct from generic buffalo milk ricotta, as the composition of the whey is intrinsically linked to the characteristics of the milk and how it is processed into cheese.

The specificity of ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’, as described, is intrinsically determined by the quality of the raw materials: whey, fresh cream from buffalo whey and milk, which when produced in the production area referred to in point 4, can confer characteristics that are superior to those achieved in other areas The orographic, geopedological and macroclimatic characteristics of the demarcated area are the main factors that contribute to giving the forage crops in the meadows – and therefore, the milk and whey used to make ‘Ricotta di Bufala Campana’ PDO – the organoleptic, taste and flavour properties that make it so unique and recognisable. The causal link between the geographical area, the raw material and the product is even more complex than for cheeses, because ricotta is a product whose main raw material, whey, is a by-product of the process whereby milk is turned into cheese. The link with the geographical area therefore depends on the producers’ ability to obtain whey that retains the original characteristics of the milk, notwithstanding the inevitable differences. Choosing to use only sweet whey, i.e. unfermented whey, produced when the fresh buffalo milk curd is broken, is the only way to ensure that the characteristics of the milk – which are intrinsically linked to the production area – are transferred to the ricotta. The high fat content in buffalo milk means the whey has a higher fat content than cow’s milk whey and this enables the aromatic qualities of the milk that are specifically encapsulated in the fat molecules to be preserved. The human factor is therefore essential in ensuring this strong link and the distinctiveness of the product obtained.

The need to use only fresh milk and genuinely fresh whey, i.e. separated as soon as the curds are broken, was already evident in the age-old practices used to make Ricotta di Bufala in the area belonging to the former Kingdom of Naples, and later on, in the current geographical-administrative subdivisions. In 1859, Achille Bruni, Professor of the Regia University of Naples, in his monograph ‘On milk and its derivatives’ published in the New Agricultural Encyclopaedia described how Ricotta di Bufala was produced at that time: ‘Take the milk fresh from the buffalo and pour it into the vat, add the goat rennet; once it has set, cut it into large bits with a wooden spatula. Then with a wooden ladle drain off the whey and boil it to extract the ricotta.’

Reference to publication of the product specification

The full text of the product specification is available on the following website: http://www.politicheagricole.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/IT/IDPagina/3335

or alternatively:

by going directly to the home page of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy (www.politicheagricole.it) and clicking on ‘Qualità’ (at the top right of the screen), then on ‘Prodotti DOP IGP STG’ (on the left-hand side of the screen) and finally on ‘Disciplinari di Produzione all’esame dell’UE’.


(1)  OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, p. 1.


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