After eight year campaign, beef and lamb from Devon and Cornwall awarded EU protected status
Saturday, 18 January 2014
Following an eight year campaign, West Country beef and lamb has this week finally been awarded EU Protected Status by the European Commission.
The Implementing Regulation for West Country Beef (pdf) and West Country Lamb (pdf) were recorded in the Official Journal of the European Union on 15 January. As a result, this means that meat from the West Country joins the ranks of Cornish pasties, Cornish clotted cream, Somerset Cider brandy and more than 60 other UK foods as having protected EU status.
To qualify for the status the meat has to come from animals born and reared and slaughtered in the West Country which comprises of the six counties in the south west Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset, Dorset or Gloucestershire. The beef or lamb must also have at least a 70% forage-based diet.
The West Country Protected Food Name scheme gives products protection from unauthorised imitation and helps consumers know they are buying the “genuine article”.
South West Conservative MEP Julie Girling was delighted with the news. In a statement she said: “I am delighted to hear the European Commission has awarded animals born and reared in six counties in the south west Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. The PGI status is so important for our farmers in the West Country and as the UK Spokesperson for Agriculture in the European Parliament I see this as a massive victory for our local farmers and is testament to the work that goes into rearing such high quality livestock.”
“This is a good day for South West Consumers and a great day for South West Farmers.”
Similarly, the regions’ Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watsoncommented: “Such status gives consumers peace of mind, knowing that what they are eating or drinking is the genuine article and is good quality.”
“Consumers can now be 100% sure that when they purchase beef and lamb sourced from the south west, it will be a product that has been reared and sourced where farmers know best, where the grass is greener and where the sun shines on our countryside.”
Peter Baber, chairman of Meat South West, told the Western Morning News: “We are delighted to be awarded PGI status for West Country beef and lamb. We look forward to working with farmers and processors in the south west region to market top quality beef and lamb under the West Country PGI banner.”
Hailing from the truly beautiful South West region of the UK, Andrew now works in Brussels and is a UK passport holder, European citizen, and a twice employee at the European Parliament.
While the EU in its current form is far from perfect, he is nonetheless firmly of the belief that the UK's prosperity and place in the world is best served as a member state and not as an isolated bystander.
Since October 2009, this blog seeks to document the work that our region's MEPs do for us in Brussels. As such, predictably, it rarely features UKIP.