Stornoway Black Pudding step closer to protection

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SECURING the identity of Stornoway marag-dubh took a massive step forward this month with news that no objections to an application for Protected Geographical Indicator Status had been received, writes Eilidh Whiteford.

The Stornoway Black Pudding Producers Association – who are determined to see the island delicacy afforded the same protection as Arbroathh Smokies and Melton Mowbray Pies – were informed by the Scottish Government that the UK consultation period on their application had closed, with no objections put forward.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have now formally submitted the application by the Stornoway Black Pudding Producers Association to the European Commission for their consideration.

Iain Macleod of the Stornoway Black Pudding Producers Association (SBPPA), commented on the news: “We are really encouraged by the support we have received, not only from the Scottish Government, DEFRA and our local politicians, but from fans of our iconic product from all over the world. The response to our application has been tremendous.”

The Association are seeking that the islands’ tasty treat be awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), which was brought into European Union legislation in 1992 aimed to protect the names and reputation of regional foods, and to eliminate unfair competition and the misleading of consumers by non-genuine products which may be of inferior quality or different flavour.

If granted, PGI ensures that only products genuinely originating in a region are allowed to be sold as such, protecting name, reputation and quality of the produce.

Iain Macleod expanded: “We believe it is vital that the special heritage of the Stornoway Black Pudding is protected.

“Our product has been here in the Hebrides for hundreds of years on the crofts, and the local butchers that are members of the Producers Association trade both on and of the islands with their product.

“The emergence of ‘Stornoway-Style’ black pudding on the market place has been a threat to our product – it’s an imitation product. Whilst it is in one way a compliment that these companies want to use our name, it is an inferior product that they are selling and its very damaging to our brand.

“The Stornoway Black Pudding is a product that is intrinsically linked back to the Outer Hebrides and we have a collective desire to protect both our food and tourism industries, and safeguard the islands’ food heritage,” he added.