Producers head to London to discuss future of food name scheme

Representatives of the Welsh food industry will gather in London next week to discuss how the country’s iconic brand names will be protected after Brexit.

In common with foods such as Champagne and Parma Ham, some Wales’s top produce currently have EU-awarded designations such as Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). The designations are a vital part of the promotion of premium products such as Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef, particularly in export markets.

On Wednesday, 18 January, the UK-wide Protected Food Name Association will meet at the headquarters of Defra (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) at Smith Square, Westminster. The PFN Association will discuss with minister George Eustice MP the need for a system to replace the current EU scheme to protect food brands which will be legally recognised in Europe and beyond.

Red meat levy body Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) will be representing Wales’s lamb and beef industry at the meeting. HCC Chief Executive Gwyn Howells said; “The PGI designations which Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef currently enjoy are vital to our marketing efforts. They’re highly sought-after marks of quality and traceability, and help to secure the premium status of our products and protect them against imitation. This in turn gives higher returns for thousands of farmers and processors in Wales.”

“I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say about what will happen to these designations after Brexit,” added Mr. Howells. “It’s important that legislation is brought forward to establish an equivalent scheme, and that the PFN Association and the devolved administrations are fully involved in the process.”

Alison Lea-Wilson from Halen Môn added, “Let’s not forget that Protected Food Names are part of the current Westminster Government’s Manifesto. They are hard-won and we must not lose momentum on continuing to protect and market existing ones, as well as supporting applications in the pipeline.”