Background: Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a progressive inflammatory disorder currently diagnosed by morphologic features. In contrast, an accurate diagnosis of Early CP is not possible using imaging criteria alone. If this were possible and early treatment instituted, the later, irreversible features and complications of CP could possibly be prevented. Method: An international working group supported by four major pancreas societies (IAP, APA, JPS, and EPC) and a PancreasFest working group sought to develop a consensus definition and diagnostic criteria for Early CP. Ten statements (S1-10) concerning Early CP were used to gauge consensus on the Early CP concept using anonymous voting with a 9 point Likert scale. Consensus required an alpha ≥0.80. Results: No consensus statement could be developed for a definition of Early-CP or diagnostic criteria. There was consensus on 5 statements: (S2) The word “Early” in early chronic pancreatitis is used to describe disease state, not disease duration. (S4) Early CP defines a stage of CP with preserved pancreatic function and potentially reversible features. (S8) Genetic variants are important risk factors for Early CP and can add specificity to the likely etiology, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient to make a diagnosis. (S9) Environmental risk factors can provide evidence to support the diagnosis of Early CP, but are neither necessary nor sufficient to make a diagnosis. (S10) The differential diagnosis for Early CP includes other disorders with morphological and functional features that overlap with CP. Conclusions: Morphology based diagnosis of Early CP is not possible without additional information. New approaches to the accurate diagnosis of Early CP will require a mechanistic definition that considers risk factors, biomarkers, clinical context and new models of disease. Such a definition will require prospective validation.