Protected status for South West meat gets closer

Plans to create a protected food name for West Country beef and lamb are a step closer, having reached the final hurdle of EU approval.

Championed by Meat South West, the Protected Geographical Indicator would give West Country beef and lamb the same status as Scottish beef and Welsh lamb.

“We’ve had a huge amount of support and interest from retailers,” said Meat South West’s manager, Helen Ashcroft. “The PGI is a tool that we can use to promote and protect the top quality beef and lamb we produce on our largely grass-based diets in the south-west. It will give us a unique selling point with excellent provenance, and will open up new domestic and export markets.”

Mel Hall, south-west NFU director, said she hoped the application would pass EU approval without falling into a “quagmire of bureaucratic inertia”.

“In an increasingly volatile market, this will give our producers the same sort of marketing edge that their Welsh and Scottish counterparts enjoy, establishing a real West Country identity which we’re sure consumers, both at home and abroad, will relate to and wish to buy in to,” she said.

Feedback from both DEFRA and the EU had been very positive, added Miss Ashcroft. “The application will now go to European consultation for six months, and we hope to launch the PGI in time for the spring lamb trade next year.”

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