Stornoway black pudding could become victim to imitation products, as its protected status may be omitted from new trade agreements.
The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is touted as a way to smooth trade between the EU and Canada, but it transpires that no British products will enjoy protected status under CETA.
The final stages of a sister agreement are being solidified between the EU and the US, as previously splashed in The Gazette (August 27).
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be the largest free-trade agreement ever, with one of the projected positives tipped as greater harmony in food regulation across the Atlantic.
In the case of the Canadian agreement, the UK government says it is working on incorporating recognition for protected status foods into the agreement.
A lack of provision for Stornoway black pudding under either agreement does not mean that North American producers can flout the rules within the EU, but it does leave the question open as to whether those who are based in the US or Canada may be able to produce imitation Scottish foods with impunity.
A spokeswoman for The Scottish Government told The Gazette said that its food and rural affairs minister, Richard Lochhead, wrote a letter in March to his Westminster counterpart, Liz Truss, asking that Scottish protected status foods be covered under the TTIP agreement.
At that time, Minister Lochhead said he would “ask Defra to ensure that all of Scotland’s products which have Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) status are put forward as part of the EU’s priorities for the agreement.”
Lochhead continued: “The UK Government’s priorities for TTIP must take full account of Scottish interests and priorities.
“My concern is that if some products are given protected status but others are not, the products which do get it may gain an unfair advantage.
“That is why I have asked Defra to include all Scottish PGIs on the EU’s negotiating mandate.”
But whilst Whitehall admits it has constitutional responsibility over the matter, it says it does not recognise the Scottish Government’s recollection on correspondence.
The UK Government said: “The UK Government is fully committed to protecting Scotland’s iconic food and drink and neither of these agreements will have any impact on the status of protected UK food names in the UK or EU markets. Only UK producers adhering to the relevant requirements will be able to use iconic British names, including Scottish ones such as Stornoway Black Pudding or Arbroath Smokies.”
“Under both TTIP and CETA, Scotch Whisky will be fully protected in the US and Canadian markets, and the European Commission has also agreed to seek protected status in the US market for Scottish Farmed Salmon, Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb.
“Furthermore, when CETA comes into force the UK will be examining ways to safeguard UK protected food name products in the Canadian market.