Orkney the Brand Under Threat

Protected Designation of OriginIs having Orkney the Brand important? And what happens if it is no longer there?

As a member of the EU products can have a Protected Designation of Origin. Mainly this can be for food and drink but Shetland wool is also covered. For Orkney it has particular significance for our agricultural products.

“To help protect and promote products with particular characteristics linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional products, the EU created quality logos, named “Protected Designation of Origin”, “Protected Geographical Indication” and “Traditional Speciality Guaranteed“. EU Agricultural Products

In Orkney Protected Food Names are: Orkney Beef, Orkney Lamb (North Ronaldsay) and Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar. No other products can use those names which are a sign of quality as well as where they were produced.

Protected Geographic DesignationIn Scotland as a whole there are 14 products which have gained this recognition.

Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop Cheese (PGI) Scottish Farmed Salmon (PGI)
Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar (PGI) Scotch Lamb (PGI)
Stornoway Black Pudding (PGI) Scotch Beef (PGI)
Scottish Wild Salmon (PGI) Arbroath Smokie (PGI)
Shetland Lamb (PDO) Native Shetland Wool (PDO)
Orkney Beef (PDO) Teviotdale Cheese (currently not in production) (PGI)
Orkney Lamb (PDO) Bonchester Cheese (currently not in production) (PDO)

Scottish whisky is also protected as a geographical location.

Orkney Beef and Orkney Lamb has to come from animals reared and slaughtered on the islands. The loss of the abattoir has removed this essential element of the Protected Food Name. It is of utmost urgency that  a solution is found to establishing an abattoir on Orkney perhaps with looking at the case for mobile abattoirs.

Why would a product want to protect its brand name?

Under the EU scheme Orkney Beef, Orkney Lamb and Orkney Scottish Islands Cheddar have legal protection for their name throughout the countries of the EU.

Due to it being a sign of quality sales of these products do better than similar ones who do not have protected named status.

It is also easier for these products to attract public funding for promotional activities.

Consumers know that these are genuine products and ones of quality.

“Once the UK stops being an EU member, it will no longer be possible for UK protected food names to be promoted in the EU or abroad, with the financial support of the EU.” Horizon Brexit Analysis Report

When the UK leaves the EU our products will also leave the Protected Names scheme.

” registered protected food names should be able to benefit from EU protection against
imitation, provided there is a reciprocal agreement between the UK and the EU.

“There are currently 23 EU GI product registrations from non-EU countries. If the UK wishes to register protected food names post-Brexit with the EU, it would first need to set up its own national approval scheme. Only when products have been approved by a non-EU country’s own national scheme can they be considered for approval under the EU protected food scheme.

“These products would also be protected by countries which have a Free Trade Agreement or bilateral agreement with the EU. “

Orkney food and drink is an essential part of our local economy. We are known for quality products with traceability so that consumers trust when they buy from the Orkney brand. These protected brand names and the advantages both for the producer and the consumer that accrues from them will go unless action is undertaken now to establish a similar scheme and to find a solution to the loss of the abattoir.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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