It’s a legal European PGI definition, passed into law on 20 December 2005.
The area where the lambs can be raised is quite wide: all of the French departments of Hautes-Alpes and Alpes de Haute-Provence, and parts of the departments of Alpes Maritimes, Var, Bouches du Rhône, Vaucluse and Drôme. The sheep breeds used can be Mérinos d’Arles, Préalpes du Sud or Mourérous, or crosses between them.
The lambs are born and raised on the same farm in the PGI area. They live with their mothers for 60 days, and may or may not go out to pasture with them to eat grass; they are also fed some cereal during this time. After they stop drinking milk, they will eat fodder or grass (but not silage.) 45% of what they eat in total must come from the PGI area.
They must also be slaughtered in the PGI area when they are between 70 and 150 days old, when they will weigh between 28 and 40 pounds (13 kg and 19 kg.) The meat will be light-coloured and mild-tasting; the fat will be firm and white with a slight pink tinge.
The meat is sold with a label says raised in Sisteron. The label also has on it a bar code that can be used to trace who raised the lamb.
Some people try to bring in live lamb from other countries, have it slaughtered in Sisteron, and have it called Sisteron lamb, bringing some disrepute on the name.
The term “Agneau de Sisteron” was first applied by butchers in the area in the 1920s and 1930s.
PGI application FR/00316/15.10.2003.