Denominazione di origine controllata ("controlled designation of origin") is Italy’s certification system to identify and protect cheeses produced within specified regions within the country. But regional specificity is just one requirement; to achieve certification cheeses must also be produced using exacting, predefined ingredients and methods, and must meet rigorous quality standards.
Modeled after France's appellation d'origine contrôlé, DOC was originally established in 1963 and implemented in 1966. It was later modified to comply with the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) certification standards that were introduced in 1992.
Similar to other designation programs, DOC certification is intended to eliminate misleading labeling, protecting the producers of the truly genuine products.