Need to protect Scottish produce says Isles MSP

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Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan is demanding that the UK government protect Scottish produce, such as Stornoway Black Pudding, by upholding the Protected Food Name scheme in all future trade deals.

This comes in response to the UK Government’s omission of Scottish products from the EU-Canada trade deal (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreements (CETA)) and of key Scottish Protected Food Names in EU trade deals with Japan and Mexico.

SNP Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing has written to Michael Gove to seek assurances around the protection of UK food names in EU trade deals, without which our producers could be commercially disadvantaged. Fergus Ewing previously wrote to Gove’s predecessor, Andrew Leadsom, on the same issue but never received a response.

Commenting, Dr Allan said: “Throughout the entire Brexit process, the UK Government has repeatedly failed to stand up for Scotland’s interests.

“Here in the Western Isles, we produce some iconic food and drink brands which are consumed across the world.

“The approach from the Tories must change, and they must recognise the importance of the food and drink industry in Scotland, and the reach across the globe that these iconic brands gives places like the Western Isles.

“The EU Protected Food Name scheme has safeguarded products from our islands such as Stornoway Black Pudding, Scotch Lamb and Scottish Farmed Salmon from cheap knock-offs, but Michael Gove seems all too willing to discard this protection away from Scottish producers and open the floodgates to cheaper products appearing on our supermarket shelves from overseas.

“We cannot gamble with Scotland’s £14 billion food and drink sector, where provenance of product is paramount, and allow cheaper imitations to undercut our first class, wholesome produce.

“The UK government must meaningfully engage with the devolved governments to ensure that their interests are protected. We cannot let Westminster’s Brexit shambles leave Scottish producers high and dry in the global trading marketplace.”