Concern is growing across Scotland about our very successful Food and Drinks industry especially once we leave the EU and the protected status many of our products have.
We highlighted this in The Orkney News in Orkney the Brand Under Threat where our protected named products are vulnerable not only with leaving the EU but also with the loss of the local abattoir which means Orkney Beef and Lamb cannot be slaughtered here.
“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 Product Policy
It’s also good to know where products in the UK have come from. Strawberries from Angus are always sweet and English plums are the best.
In the Borders town of Kelso, campaigners for Keep Scotland the Brand gathered outside their local Sainsbury’s store last Saturday with placards, leaflets, badges and a petition in support of Scottish farmers and Scottish produce to talk to shoppers about their campaign. This non-party political, grass roots campaign, initiated by consumers, is growing all over rural Scotland, prompted by the steady disappearance of the Saltire on packs of food grown in Scotland and its replacement by large Union flag packaging.
Keith Pattison from East Berwickshire said:
“A two minute dash through the vegetable row in Sainsbury’s and we filled a basket with potatoes from Angus, Perthshire and Berwickshire; carrots and parsnips from Fife and sprouts and cabbage from East Lothian. All fresh produce from Scotland but not one displayed a Saltire as they would have done till very recently. Instead they were wrapped in massive Union Flags”.
And Jackie Thompson who was also in the group said:
“We’re not being petty about this. Scotland has a deserved reputation for high quality food and we’re concerned that credit is not being given where it’s due. More seriously, it’s a situation that may well lead to loss of market share as the Scotland brand disappears, damaging Scotland’s producers.”
In two hours of campaigning, the group collected 200 signatures which have been sent to the Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s.
Campaigner Alison Currie said:
“Many shoppers had noticed and were indignant about the changes, describing it as unfair, ridiculous, shameful, undermining of Scotland and its produce and damaging to the shop local ethos. Being Kelso, we met more than a few farmers getting their shopping in before the rugby started. They were well aware of the dangers posed by this brand dilution and glad to sign the petition and glad for the support.”
“And with Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb currently left out of UK Brexit trade deals, we see further undermining of our high quality brand, yet another blow for Scottish farmers.”
The products with protected EU named status in Scotland [Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)]are:
- 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.
“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. “ Horizon Brexit Analysis Report
Scotland’s Food and Drinks Industry is an international success but 70% of food exports are to EU markets. Protecting the brand, traceability and trust in its quality are all vulnerable as the UK Government seeks new trade deals which do not have stringent food safety standards.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame