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UK Government Urged to Pursue Mutual Recognition of New Protected Food Names After Brexit

In a letter to three Secretaries of State, NFU Scotland has called for changes to be made to the way the UK proposes to deal with new products seeking Protected Food Names (PFN) status post-Brexit.

PFN is the overall catch-all for any scheme to protect food names.  The European system of PFN breaks down protected food names into three categories: Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) such as Orkney Beef and Lamb; Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) such as Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG).

Post-Brexit, the Government’s current intention is to keep a UK system of PFN separate from the European system. That has no implications for existing PFN protected products but does mean that food producers who require future name protection will have to apply to both the UK Government and European Commission if they wish to receive protection in the UK and European Union.

Given the additional layer of bureaucracy that they would face, NFU Scotland has written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove; the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox and the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab.

It calls for the system of mutual recognition of PFNs with Europe to be maintained and raises concerns that the food name protections Scotland enjoys just now could be lost under future trade deals if we do not maintain the system of mutual recognition with the European Union.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “Food name protection has brought significant benefits to Scottish food and farming. Products such as Scotch Whisky, Scottish Farmed Salmon, Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb. Stornoway Black Pudding and Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar all have PGI status and all have all been protected from imitation in a market of more than 500 million potential customers across Europe.

“Given the huge uncertainties generated by Brexit, it will come as no surprise that we are extremely concerned that the food name protections we have just now could be lost under new trade deals if we do not maintain the existing system of mutual recognition with the European Union.

“Currently, food producers apply to the UK Government or devolved administrations who then take the application to the European Commission. The understanding of NFUS is that the UK Government’s proposed position in dealing with new applications will add an additional bureaucratic step.  

“We are calling on the UK Government to seek a memorandum of understanding of mutual recognition for food name protection. This would mean that if the UK Government gives protection to a UK food product then this will also be given to the product in the European Union, equally if the European Commission gives protection to a European food product then the UK Government will adopt protection for this product in the United Kingdom.

“We appreciate timetables are tight, particularly if the UK Government hopes to agree a deal with the European Union by early November, but we believe this is a sensible approach which will avoid any duplication of the current arrangements.”  
 
Notes to Editors

  • Protected Food Names (PFN) is the overall catch-all for any type of scheme to protect food names.  The European system of PFN breaks protected food names in to three categories:
  • Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) – PDO protects a foodstuff produced in a specific place or country, to receive PDO the entire product must be traditional or entirely manufactured in the specific place or country.  Orkney Beef and Lamb are examples of this.
  • Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) - is an indication of the name of place or country and usually describes an agricultural produce. To receive the indicator the product must be traditionally or at least partially manufactured in the geographical area. Scotch Whisky, Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb are PGIs.
  • Traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG) – this gives protection to food products of a specific food ‘character’, rather than being linked to a location this is to a production method or processing. The characteristic production attributes must distinguish it from other products of the same category. There are no TSG’s protected in Scotland, the only two in the UK are “traditional Bramley apple pie filling” and “traditionally farmed Gloucestershire old spots pork”.

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 132/18


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