11 August 2021, UK: Gower Salt Marsh Lamb has today (Wednesday 11 August 2021) officially joined the club of UK’s most iconic products, becoming the first new food to receive protected status after the end of the Transition Period with the EU.
The new, independent Geographical Indication (GI) schemes were launched after the end of the transition period and are designed to ensure that popular and traditional products from across the country can obtain special status to mark out their authenticity and origin. This means that shoppers can buy their favourite food and drink with confidence, and producers whose foods are granted GI status benefit from intellectual property protection, so that others cannot imitate them.
With the registration now complete, the meat produced from lambs born and reared on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales has gained full protection and recognition as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). The protection has been given as Gower Salt Marsh Lamb producers were able to demonstrate their meat’s characteristics are essentially and exclusively due to its particular area of production.
Food Minister Victoria Prentis said:
Our new GI schemes guarantee quality and excellence for food lovers at home and around the world.
I am really pleased to see Gower Salt Marsh Lamb gain protected status, and I can think of no better product to kick start our new scheme with.
We want people, at home and abroad, to be lining up to buy British. I would encourage producers from all around the UK to apply to the scheme, so that we can celebrate and protect more of our excellent local produce, and ensure it is given the recognition that it deserves.
Produced using knowledge and skills dating back to medieval times, Gower Salt Marsh Lamb comes from lamb born, reared and slaughtered in the Gower area of South Wales. The meat gains its unique characteristics from specific vegetation and environment of the salt marshes on the north Gower coastline, where the lambs graze over long distances for more than half of their lifetime. It is a seasonal product, available from June until the end of December.
The Gower salt marshes offer unique environment to lambs, where they can graze over the vast flat expanses. Historically, these north Gower salt marshes have supported thousands of sheep and are currently grazed by 3500 lambs per year.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
Wales boasts an outstanding selection of food and drink including cheese, seafood and beer which are all flying the flag for Welsh culinary excellence around the world.
It’s fantastic to see Gower Salt Marsh Lamb added to the list of iconic products from Wales, becoming the first recognised product under the UK’s new and independent schemes.
Guaranteeing the authenticity of Welsh food and drink helps cement our reputation for quality both at home and in new international markets.
The UK Government works to ensure that all culturally and economically important products from across the UK, such as the Gower Salt Marsh Lamb, are appropriately protected from imitation. This is achieved in collaboration with the Devolved Administrations and regional counterparts, who have an advisory role and support applicants.
There are now 17 GIs in Wales in total. This recognition enables inclusion of these iconic products in celebrations of Welsh food and drink.
Dan and Will Pritchard from Weobley Castle Farm, who produce Gower Salt Marsh Lamb, said:
We are so pleased that Gower Salt Marsh Lamb is now officially recognised and registered under the new UK GI schemes.
We are the third generation of Pritchards to farm in this amazing location, meaning that we’ve perfected our way of rearing lamb over the years. We currently produce around 1,000 lambs per year – taking care of the whole process to create meat with a unique, local flavour of samphire and sea lavender.
This recognition means that the reputation of our regional product is protected, and it helps us promote traditional agricultural practices and eliminate non-genuine products.
Following the application to register this specific type of lamb as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Gower Salt Marsh Lamb has received official recognition of authenticity and provenance, meaning that verified producers can now use the GI logo on their product.
Gower Salt Marsh Lamb has now joined the club of the UK’s most iconic products, such as Scotch Whisky and Wensleydale Cheese, meaning that shoppers will increasingly see the UK GI logo on these products.
New trade deals are opening doors for British agriculture and food and drink businesses around the world. Defra and the Department for International Trade are working in lockstep with partners like the NFU, NFU Cymru, Farmers’ Union of Wales, the AHDB and the Food and Drink Federation to deliver tailored support on the ground for farmers and food producers through our Open Doors programme, which offers free advice and support to potential exporters.