Welsh Lamb joins Cornish Clotted Cream, West Country Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese and Stilton Cheese on the list of 34 UK products recognised by the EU for their quality and regional identity.
It has been awarded the designation of 'Protected Geographical Indication' under the Protected Food Name Scheme, a status which ensures that only lamb which has been born and reared in Wales can be marketed as 'Welsh Lamb' within the EU.
Lord Whitty said:
"There is growing consumer enthusiasm for products with a clear regional identity. Registration under the EU Protected Food Name Scheme gives consumers assurances about origin, quality and production methods, and protects producers against imitations. This registration is excellent news for producers of Welsh Lamb who now have deserved recognition for a high quality product."
The Policy Commission on the Future of Food and Farming recommended that more be done to encourage take up of the scheme, a recommendation which the Government supports wholeheartedly. The message to the UK regional food sector is - it's worth exploring whether your product can become registered under the EU Protected Food Names Scheme as the benefits could be considerable."
Exports of Welsh Lamb to other EU Member States are worth nearly £50 million. France is the biggest customer followed by Germany, Italy and Belgium.
In 1993 EU legislation came into force which provides for a system for the protection of food names on a geographical or traditional recipe basis. This system is similar to the familiar 'appellation controllée' system used for wine. The scheme highlights regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed. Under this system a named food or drink registered at a European level will be given legal protection against imitation throughout the EU.
Producers who register their products for protection benefit from having a raised awareness of their product throughout Europe. This can in turn help them take advantage of the growing market for regional and speciality foods. The designations are:
The EU schemes cover most foods intended for human consumption including meat, dairy and fish products, fruits and vegetables, beer, beverages made from plant extracts, bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits and confectionery. Wines and Spirits are covered by separate EU legislation.
Further details of the EU schemes, together with application forms and guidance notes can be obtained from Leigh-Anne Cox on 0207 238 6601.
Details are also available on the Defra website: www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/foodname/intro.htm
A full list of UK products registered under the above three schemes is below.
Fresh fish, molluscs and crustaceans and products derived therefrom
Fruit, vegetables and cereals
Some of the more famous registered products from other EU countries are:
A full list of others can be found on the Defra website at: www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/foodname/contents.htm