Beef and lamb from the Westcountry can be sold under its own label from next year following the success of a campaign to win Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for the meat.
During a five-month European Commission EU-wide consultation process, no opposition to the plans were received. The Commission will now prepare to register the names West Country Beef and West Country Lamb, after which active marketing can begin to take place. It will join Welsh Lamb and Scotch Beef, among a long list of British and European foods that already enjoy the status.
Beef and lamb from the region, that meet specific criteria, will be eligible to carry the PGI logo and will be badged as "West Country" and promoted on the basis of their rearing environment. The meat will have to come from stock born, raised and finished in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Dorset or Wiltshire and have been fed at least a 70 per cent forage-based diet.
Peter Baber, chairman of Meat South West (MSW), the organisation behind the PGI application, said: "This is a key milestone and very positive outcome, following a long process to obtain a PGI for West Country beef and lamb. We are delighted with the latest step in the process and look forward to marketing beef and lamb under the West Country PGI banner in the new year."
Nick Allen, sector director for EBLEX, said: "EBLEX has put a lot of time and expertise into supporting this PGI application so we are delighted by this news. It's now up to the processors and the meat trade to embrace the West Country PGI to fulfil its marketing potential."
MSW is a strategic advisory body, which liaises with the industry and government on the priorities and needs of a profitable and productive regional meat and livestock sector. The board represents the whole supply chain, from farm to fork, and is committed to the success of the sector.