Brexit: EU more interested in 'control' than money says McBride
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The meat is the first item to have been granted the status since the UK left the EU transitional period at the start of the year. After cutting ties with the bloc, the Government launched its independent Geographical Indication (GI) schemes, which aim to ensure popular and traditional products from across the country can obtain special status to mark out their authenticity and origin.
While a part of the EU, Brussels was in charge of determining which products received special status.
Scotch Whisky and Wensleydale Cheese were among those to receive protected status under the bloc’s shackles.
But now free to make its own rules, Britain can provide far better protection for a wider range of goods.
Officials expect GI protection to play a greater role in the future as the UK strikes trade deals with countries around the world.
They say the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Department for International Trade are working closely with key stakeholders to ensure their goods are protected overseas in new deals.
Celebrating the first product to be given protection under the new schemes, Food Minister Victoria Prentis said: “Our new GI schemes guarantee quality and excellence for food lovers at home and around the world.
“I am really pleased to see Gower Salt Marsh Lamb gain protected status, and I can think of no better product to kick start our new scheme with.
“We want people, at home and abroad, to be lining up to buy British.
“I would encourage producers from all around the UK to apply to the scheme, so that we can celebrate and protect more of our excellent local produce, and ensure it is given the recognition that it deserves.”
The new GI schemes do not apply to Northern Ireland which remains covered by the EU’s equivalent under the terms of the 2019 withdrawal agreement.
Gower Salt Marsh Lamb has been given the protected status because of its specific breeding requirements.
Lamb is born, reared and slaughtered in the Gower area of South Wales where the specific vegetation and environment of the salt marshes on the north Gower coastline makes it unique.
The marshes have been used for thousands of sheep historically and are currently grazed upon by 3,500 lambs each year.
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Dan and Will Pritchard from Weobley Castle Farm, who produce Gower Salt Marsh Lamb, said the new protection would help them to stamp out counterfeit produce.
They said: “We are so pleased that Gower Salt Marsh Lamb is now officially recognised and registered under the new UK GI schemes.
“We are the third generation of Pritchards to farm in this amazing location, meaning that we’ve perfected our way of rearing lamb over the years.
“We currently produce around 1,000 lambs per year – taking care of the whole process to create meat with a unique, local flavour of samphire and sea lavender.
“This recognition means that the reputation of our regional product is protected, and it helps us promote traditional agricultural practices and eliminate non-genuine products.”
Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, added: “Wales boasts an outstanding selection of food and drink including cheese, seafood and beer which are all flying the flag for Welsh culinary excellence around the world.
“It’s fantastic to see Gower Salt Marsh Lamb added to the list of iconic products from Wales, becoming the first recognised product under the UK’s new and independent schemes.
“Guaranteeing the authenticity of Welsh food and drink helps cement our reputation for quality both at home and in new international markets.”
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