New Labels For Geographical Indications

Publication Date19 December 2020
SubjectConsumer Protection, Government, Public Sector, Consumer Law, Constitutional & Administrative Law
Law FirmMarks & Clerk
AuthorNo'lle Pearson

DEFRA takes matters into its own hands as Brexit fishing impasse leaves little time to revisit the protection of agricultural products and foodstuffs

My last article, on the protection of agricultural products and foodstuffs (read it here), had me sitting in a wine bar in front of a mixed cheese and charcuterie platter contemplating what would happen to my beloved Teviotdale cheese when the end of the Brexit transition period comes.

Three months on and I am still thinking about Teviotdale cheese, only this time the setting is quite different. Edinburgh is now in a tier three lockdown, which has resulted in the wine bar being replaced by my living room and my cheese and charcuterie platter being replaced by a block of Cheddar cheese and a single gherkin. There is no Teviotdale cheese in sight and the Cheddar cheese/gherkin combination is proving to be undesirable, much like the current stalemate on Brexit talks.

My obsession with Teviotdale cheese and why the cheese is so special has to do with the fact that it is a Protected Geographical Indication ("PGI"), protected by EU Regulation 1151/2012 For The Quality Schemes For Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs ("The Regulation"). This means that the product name (Teviotdale) can only be used on a product, which meets the premium-quality standards associated with the Teviotdale cheese.

It also means that a product meeting these standards MUST be labelled with the following relevant EU logo:

The purpose of the logo is to educate the consumer that the labelled product is a genuine PGI and that it complies with the premiumquality standards associated with it. For example, the producers of Teviotdale cheese have to go through multiple rigorous compliance checks to ensure that the quality and the characteristics of their product is sufficient to entitle them to use, in the first instance, the name Teviotdale, and secondly the PGI logo.

Consequently, a cheese manufacturer or a seller cannot call their product 'Teviotdale cheese' or use the above logo within the EU unless it meets the Teviotdale cheese standards, which also include coming from the village of Teviotdale, Scotland.

The strict EU standards associated with the names of agricultural products and foodstuffs are there to ensure food quality of these products stays consistently high and that consumers always receive a product with the quality, and the characteristics associated with the name that the product carries.

Unfortunately, the standards for...

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