Consultation on new UK GI scheme gets underway

Bramley apples
Bramley apples

The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is encouraging Northern Ireland stakeholders to respond to a UK-wide consultation on a new UK Geographical Indications scheme to be in place after we leave the European Union.

Under the current EU protected food names (PFN) scheme, certain products with a Geographical Indication (GI) are given legal protection against imitation. The UK Government and the devolved administrations recognise the economic and cultural importance of GIs, which are also important to the strength of our global reputation for quality food

Northern Ireland currently has three products with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status (Comber New Potatoes, Armagh Bramley Apples; Lough Neagh Eels) and one Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) - Lough Neagh Pollan

There are also three ‘all island’ PFN products registered by DAFM (ROI) for spirits (Irish Cream, Irish Poteen and Irish Whiskey).

All of these existing GIs will automatically be protected in the proposed new UK GI scheme. In addition, the UK Government has indicated that it will seek to ensure that all UK GIs registered under the EU schemes will continue to enjoy protections in the EU, but this is subject to ongoing negotiations.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in London is seeking views from across the UK on technical changes to be made to the existing EU PFN scheme to make sure the schemes continue to work in the UK and there is minimal disruption to stakeholders post EU Exit.

The consultation explains the new UK GI scheme proposals, which are based on retaining the existing EU regulations within UK law via the EU Withdrawal Act. This will maintain the four separate schemes for; agri-food products, wines, aromatised wines and spirit drinks.

In particular, the consultation seeks stakeholder views on what messages a new UK logo for GIs should convey, the adoption period for products to wear the UK logo and a new appeals process.

Now is the opportunity for stakeholders in NI to contribute their views to the development of GIs post EU exit, and thereby help ensure their continued benefits for NI companies. DAERA is calling on all those who currently hold PFN status, as well current and potential future scheme applicants and anyone else with an interest in the protection of quality NI products, to contribute their views.

The consultation was launched on 4 October 2018 and will last for four weeks.

For more information on this consultation and details on how to respond, please visit the DEFRA website: www.defra.gov.uk