Accreditation, certifications, labels... what is the difference ?

Accreditation and labels

Numerous labels exist in France in multiple and varied sectors: agriculture, culture, ecology, etc. Do you want to create your label but don't know where to start? Find out what to do.

What is a label?

There is no legal definition of the word “label”. The label aims to promote a product, a service, a company or even a person.


What is the difference between a label and a brand? How to protect the label? Why register a trademark with the INPI?

Find out the answers in the video below.




What are the steps to create your label?

To create a label, it is necessary to follow the three steps below:

  1. Write the label’s “repository” This benchmark allows you to distinguish the differences between your product or service compared to other similar products/services on the market. It defines the characteristics of the product and/service, the labeling criteria and its control methods if necessary. In the case of certifications, the framework must be integrated into a certification program in accordance with the specific CERT REF 09 requirements.
  2. Protect a label with the INPI

The only possible protection for a label is the registration of a trademark according to the intellectual property code. To this end, you must provide the INPI with a file including the label reference document which describes the conditions of use of your brand. You will find on the INPI website the procedures to follow and the different types of possible marks.

Useful links :

  • Intellectual property T
  • he definition of a brand
  • The different types of brand
  • The stages of registering a trademark


In France, there are more than 1,100 official signs identifying quality and origin. Associated with agricultural and agri-food products, these signs are managed by the INAO (The National Institute of origin and quality).


What are the agri-food labels?

There are five official signs identifying quality and origin, four of which are at European level.


The red label, the only national sign

The red label defines superior quality compared to a comparable product. Example: chickens, ducks, eggs, beef, sausages, fruits and vegetables etc.


European symbols

1. Organic farming (AB)

Organic farming is a mode of production combining optimal environmental practices, respect for biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources and the assurance of a high level of animal welfare. To qualify as an organic operator, you must comply with European specifications (identical to all European countries).
Example: cereals, fruits, vegetables, cottons, bread, cheese, wines etc.



The PDO is a product from a particular territory, a geographical area (climate, particular soils) associated with characteristic expertise and all the manufacturing stages of which are carried out in this area.
Example: champagne, cognac, Saint-Emilion, Roquefort, Comté etc.


3. Protected Geographical Indications (PGI)

The PGI also defines a product coming from a particular territory where at least one of the manufacturing stages of this product takes place (manufacturing stage, transformation).
Example: IGP Bayonne ham, duck with foie gras from the southwest, etc.


4. Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG)

The TSG is an official sign protecting a traditional recipe.
Example: Bouchot mold, mozzarella (Italy) etc.


How are the labels controlled?

Two organizations are involved in the control of official signs. On the one hand the INAO, which operates before the products are put on the market and on the other hand the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Repression), which checks in supermarkets, markets or restaurants the claims of the products, after their marketing. The role of the INAO is to control the implementation of validated specifications. This mission is delegated to certifying or inspection bodies accredited by Cofrac, a mandatory requirement to be approved by the INAO.


To find out more about agri-food labels, discover the video interview between Carole Ly, Director of the INAO and Sandrine Dupin, Development Manager in the Certifications section.


Discover the most frequently asked questions