West Country beef and lamb has joined the ranks of some of the UK’s most famous foods such as Stilton cheese and Melton Mowbray pies by securing protected food name status.
The status awarded by the European Union guarantees the foods’ authenticity and origin and prevents imitation products from using their name.
Peter Baber, chairman of Meat South West, said: “We are delighted to be awarded PGI status.”
The ‘protected geographical indication’ (PGI) status was also welcomed by butcher Ian Gillard, who works for Butler’s Butchers in Borough Parade, Chippenham.
He said: “It’s marvellous, as long as they don’t put the price up. Ninety per cent of the beef we sell is West Country. Meat from the supermarkets can have travelled hundreds of miles before it hits the shelves.”
The status means the meat has to come from stock born, raised and finished in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset or Dorset and fed at least a 70 per cent forage-based diet.
Former beef farmer Nick Bush at North Wraxall said he was glad the whole process had to take place in the region. “Not just produced there, it’s got to be more than that,” he said. “Food labelling needs to be more accurate, it’s a good thing for consumers to be enlightened.”
Stephen Cook, owner of Walter Rose & Son butchers in Devizes and Trowbridge, said: “It’s good for farmers and for us and it brings the opportunity to promote it more. The lovely soil and grass enables us to have wonderful cattle and lamb and we are privileged.”
“We have always sourced meat from the local area, the majority of it within spitting distance of us. It does wind you up when meat from abroad is sold and it says West Country on the label.”