A recent AHDB report has said West Country beef and lamb, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Stilton cheese may still get EU protection from imitations after Brexit, as long as the UK does the same for European products.
The report looks at how the UK could continue to protect foodstuffs under the EU’s ‘Geographical Indication’ schemes, which were created to allow producers to differentiate their products.
Kathy Roussel, head of the AHDB Brussels office and co-author of the report, said Defra had a team in place to look at how best to protect iconic British products post-Brexit.
She added: “When the UK leaves the EU, 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.”
This would mean products such as French champagne or Italian gorgonzola cheese would retain their protection in the UK.
UK protected food names would not be able to benefit from EU funding for promotion in the EU or abroad after Brexit, but Ms Roussel suggested producers may still see some potential in using the names as a valuable marketing tool to improve their competitiveness and profitability.
At present, the UK has 61 registered Geographical Indication products and 17 applications in progress. The majority of the registrations are in the meat and cheese sectors.
The protection of geographical names pre-dates the EU. It has existed for more than 100 years in national legislation and multilateral agreements.