The food industry in Wales has been given a major boost following the award of European Union Protected Food Name (EUPFN) status for Carmarthen Ham.
It first applied for a “Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI)” in November 2011 and has been fully supported throughout the entire process by the Welsh Government.
Protected status ensures the product cannot be imitated or re-produced without meeting very stringent specifications.
For any product, being awarded PGI status is big news. Since Welsh Lamb acquired it, for example, in 2003, exports of sheep meat from Wales grew by £76.3m in just 10 years.
Hybu Cig Cymru, the Wales-based meat promotion agency, estimates that 25 per cent of the cumulative growth in exports from 2003 to 2012, could be attributed directly to the PGI brand and related marketing activities.
Wales has a number of products which have been successful in achieving protected status.
They include Welsh Lamb and Beef, Halen Mȏn/Anglesey Sea Salt, Pembrokeshire early new potatoes, Conwy Mussels and Welsh Wine.
The European Commission is also currently considering seven further applications from the UK and they are all from Wales.