23 October 2020, 09:05 AM
  • The new legislation will protect regional and traditional foods after the UK leaves the European Union
Defra unveils new rules and logos to protect British food and drink

New rules and logos designed to protect British food and drink by guaranteeing the authenticity of regional and traditional foods have been set out by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs.

The new Geographical Indications (GI) will replace the European Union’s scheme when the Brexit transition period ends on the 1st January 2021 to ensure that foods such as Stilton cheese and Melton Mowbray pork pies are protected from imitation. Producers that are required to use the logos will have until the 1st January 2024 to change their packaging.

Environment secretary George Eustice said the scheme will “ensure that we continue to recognise and celebrate protected food names and local recipes across our country”. 

“The new logos launched today will become a staple on supermarket aisles in the UK and mean shoppers will be able to pick the best of British, from Scotch whisky and Welsh lamb to Cornish clotted cream.”

Three UK GI logos were created to cater to the different designations set out by the scheme:
-Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) which requires all aspects of production, including sourcing materials, to take place within the defined geographical area.
-Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) where some elements of production and/or raw materials can take place outside the defined geographical area.
-Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) for a product made to a traditional recipe or method, but it does not have to be made in a specific area.

Legislation set out in parliament yesterday will provide the legal framework in England, Scotland and Wales to administer and enforce the GI schemes, as well as to ensure continued protection of existing UK-origin GIs and non-UK GIs agreed through trade agreements.

“The UK is celebrated for producing some of the very best food and drink in the world,” said Nicholas Rodda, managing director of Cornwall’s Rodda’s Creamery, who was involved in the development of the new logos. “The new GI status will not only strengthen the authenticity of our Cornish clotted cream on a global stage, but also provide new opportunities for our business conversations internationally.”

Traditional British food and drink is highly valued around the world. The UK’s GIs represent around a quarter of food and drink exports by value, reaching nearly £6bn in export value in 2019.

Halen Mon Anglesey Sea Salt also welcomed the news: “In a world of cheap imitations and pressures on costs, it’s important for producers and consumers alike to be able to depend on a marque which is a guarantee of authenticity and quality.”

Defra also said it is working to expand and increase the number of GI protections through free trade agreements. The recently announced trade deal with Japan will offer new protection for more traditional UK goods, the government said, increasing GIs from just seven under the terms of the EU-Japan deal to potentially over 70 under the new agreement.

For more information and to find out how to apply for the UK’s new GI logos, click here.

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