West Country beef and lamb go for PGI status

Beef and lamb from the West Country could be the latest produce to receive Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.

If approved by the European Commission, the move would see beef and lamb that meets a set criteria badged as West Country, and promoted on the basis of the unique rearing environment associated with the region.

Meat South West (MSW), the strategic advisory body, is behind the move for south west meat to obtain PGI status and a consultation into the move has just been started.

Devon sheep producer Peter Baber, chairman of MSW, said: “We are at a key stage in what is a very lengthy process and would urge businesses in the region to let their views by known by joining in the consultation.

“These comments will then form part of the case that is submitted to Europe for a final decision. Once it has gone to the European Commission, there will be no further chance for UK interested parties to comment, though other countries will be asked for their opinions. It is therefore vital that people back the bid and make their views known now.”

Nick Allen, sector director for Eblex, which is supporting Meat South West in the project, said: “This 12-week consultation is the chance for people to have their say and support the application – not just the basic concept of having a brand to differentiate beef and lamb from the region, but also the specific criteria which will govern what qualifies to be sold under that West Country brand.

“If the process had been moved forward without this consultation, the cases being made – one for beef and one for lamb – would have been significantly weaker and there would have been no chance for UK-based businesses and individuals to take part in the process.

“Eblex is fully behind this PGI application and we would like to see as many people as possible getting involved.”

To qualify for West Country labelling under the PGI, among other things the beef or lamb would have to come from stock born, raised and finished in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire or Wiltshire, and have had at least a  70% forage-based diet.

ADAS is carrying out the consultation on behalf of Defra. If you would like to find out more, you can view the consultation document at http://www.euprotectedfoodnames.org.uk/News/tabid/158/Default.aspx.

Any comments on the consultation should be submitted to Irene Bocchetta ADAS, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton, WV6 8TQ, or emailed to Irene.Bocchetta@adas.co.uk.

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