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Welsh leeks given Protected Geographical Indication status by government

The Welsh Leek has been granted Protected Geographical Indication (GI) status by its government.  This places them 19th on the list of GI protected foods from Wales

Welsh leeks are given protected status: Wales’ national emblem joins the list, including Melton Mowbray pork pies, Cornish pasties and Stilton cheese

  • Welsh Leeks have been granted Protected Geographical Indication status
  • Pembrokeshire-based food suppliers Puffin Produce have been pushing for change
  • The law now prohibits traders from making or selling inferior look-alikes
  • Welsh leeks are different from others because 40% of the stem is a green flag

A leek has been given the same protected status as Cornish pasties, Melton Mowbray pork pies and stilton cheese.

The Welsh Leek has been granted Protected Geographical Indication (GI) status by its government.

Welsh growers wanted the humble leek to receive this award to boost demand and reputation.

Their successful bid was led by Pembrokeshire-based food suppliers Puffin Produce, meaning traders are barred by law from making or selling substandard look-alikes.

The Welsh Leek has been granted Protected Geographical Indication (GI) status by its government.  This places them 19th on the list of GI protected foods from Wales

The Welsh Leek has been granted Protected Geographical Indication (GI) status by its government. This places them 19th on the list of GI protected foods from Wales

Welsh growers wanted the humble leek to receive this award to boost demand and reputation

Welsh growers wanted the humble leek to receive this award to boost demand and reputation

Huw Thomas, CEO of Puffin Produce, said: “The leek is an iconic emblem of Wales – we are incredibly proud to be able to grow Welsh leeks and the GI status is hugely important in promoting the quality and heritage behind this majestic culture.’

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The leek has been a symbol of Wales for over 1,000 years and is valued for bringing good luck on everything from battlefields to rugby pitches.

Proud families pin badges of the vegetable on their clothing and soldiers of the Welsh Guards Regiment also wear leeks in their helmets on St David’s Day.

These leeks highlight the perfect leaf-to-stem ratio for the Welsh vegetable

These leeks show how the vegetable can vary depending on external factors.  The leaf-to-stem ration is more than Welsh leek tradition

Welsh leeks are different from others in that about 40% of the stem is a green flag (the top of the leek)

The Welsh leek has been a symbol of Wales for over 1,000 years, revered for bringing good luck on everything from battlefields to rugby pitches

The Welsh leek has been a symbol of Wales for over 1,000 years, revered for bringing good luck on everything from battlefields to rugby pitches

It has become the 19th food on Wales' list of GI protected products

It has become the 19th food on Wales’ list of GI protected products

The “Welsh IG family” of 19 products:

1. Welsh beef

2. Welsh lamb

3. Early Pembrokeshire times

4. Anglesey Sea Salt

5. Conwy Mussels

6. Carmarthen Ham

7. Traditionally raised pedigree Welsh pig

8. Salmon caught by Coracle in West Wales

9. West Wales Coracle caught Sewin

10. Welsh Laverbread

11. Traditional Welsh Pear

12. Traditional Welsh Cider

13. Welsh Wine

14. Welsh wine (regional)

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15. Traditional Welsh Caerphilly

16. Clwyd Denbigh Plum Valley

17. Gower Salt Flats Lamb

18. Lamb from the Cambrian Mountains

19. Welsh Leeks

Source: wales247.co.uk

It has become the third Welsh product to achieve highly sought-after status after Gower salt marsh lamb and Cambrian Mountain lamb.

Welsh leeks are normally planted from late February to May and harvested from August to April or May. And it can be grown in wet and cool conditions before it hits the dining table.

Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “It is great news today and I congratulate everyone involved in securing this prestigious award for Welsh leeks.

“Leeks are a historic symbol of Wales, known around the world, and I am very happy to see this product gaining the recognition and prestige it deserves.”

Leeks were first brought to Wales by the Phoenicians, who traded them for tin.

The connection to Wales was also immortalized in Shakespeare’s play Henry V when he tells the Welsh Captain Fluellen he’s carrying a leek “because I’m Welsh, you know, good countryman”.

Families in Wales often wear the vegetable symbols on March 1 to celebrate the patron saint – as well as at international sporting matches.

An individual or a company does not have a GI. Any producer can manufacture and sell a product under a registered product name if they meet the product specifications and are verified to do so.

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It protects the product name from misuse or imitation when the product is sold in Britain.

There are four GI regimes in the UK:

  • Food agricultural products
  • Wine
  • flavored wine
  • Spirit drinks

The new UK schemes have new logos and processes for applying for and granting GI status, but the designations will remain the same as the current EU GI schemes: Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Protected Geographical Indication ( PGI) Traditional Specialties Guaranteed (TSG)

How to apply for protected food status:

Types of protection –

  • Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG): It should have a traditional name and features that set it apart from other similar products.
  • Protected Geographical Indication (PGI): The item must be produced, processed or prepared in the area you wish to associate it with.
  • Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): It must be produced, processed and prepared in an area and have characteristics distinct from that area.

Who can apply –

  • Individual food producers can apply or form a group.
  • This can include as many people as needed.
  • Must have a protected product name as well as a draft product specification.
  • Make the specifications as clear as possible – they should show how another producer in the area with the product could make the same product.

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