The reputation of Wales’ thriving food and drink industry has been given a boost after the EU confirmed Traditionally Reared Pedigree Welsh Pork has gained protected status.
The European Commission has today awarded Pork from traditionally reared Pedigree Welsh Pigs with Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG) status. It joins a number of Welsh products that have been successful in achieving EU protected status. These include PGI Welsh Lamb and Beef, PDO Halen Mȏn/Anglesey Sea Salt, PGI Pembrokeshire early new potatoes, Conwy Mussels, PGI Carmarthen Ham and PDO & PGI Welsh Wine.
Unlike geographically specific protected foods, Pedigree Welsh Pork can be produced anywhere in Europe, providing the animals are pedigree and are registered with the British Pig Association or a similar breed association. Pig keepers using the TSG designation will be encouraged to become members of the Pedigree Welsh Pig Society who will be able to offer help and support to ensure pigs are reared according to traditional methods, keeping to the high standards of husbandry.
The application process for TSG status began over 4 years ago with support and funding from the Welsh Government. Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths welcomed the announcement. She said:
“I would like to congratulate Pedigree Welsh Pig Society for gaining the first Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG) EU status in Wales. I am pleased the Welsh Government was able to assist the application with funding and support.
“This is further confirmation of what we already know - Wales produces world leading food and drink. Our Protected Food Name basket is growing, which gives recognition to the dedication of our producers to quality and it ensures their products are protected under EU law.”
Bob Stevenson, Chairman of the Pedigree Welsh Pig Society and an eminent pig vet said:
“Consumers can now be 100% certain when buying traditionally reared Pedigree Welsh pork that provenance is assured and that the meat has been produced in a way that has prioritised the well-being of the animal throughout its entire life.”
“This is a great accolade for Wales’ native pig breed and one that will help further elevate the profile of Welsh pork”, says Melanie Cargill, representative of a new initiative to develop the pig industry in Wales. “Shoppers are increasingly looking for assurance when it comes to their food purchases and this gives discerning customers that something extra.”
“Being only the third TSG awarded in the UK, it really demonstrates how unique the Welsh pig is.”
Lesley Griffiths also spoke of the Welsh Government’s intention to ensure Protected Food Names continue to be recognised after the UK leaves the European Union:
“We are working closely with Defra, who act as the link to the EU, to ensure a future for protected food names when we leave Europe. There are other countries outside of Europe with protected food names and this sets a precedent for the UK to consider a similar reciprocal scheme in the future.”