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The government wants Irish grass-fed beef and Achill Island Sea Salt to get protected EU status

Eight Irish products have already received the protected status as a Geographical Indications.

Image: PhotoJoiner

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT has begun a process to give Irish grass-fed beef and Achill Island Sea Salt a protected status from the European Commission.

The Department of Agriculture has today launched the first part of an application process for Irish Grass Fed Beef to become a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and for Achill Island Sea Salt to become a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).

Geographical Indications (GIs) are a way of copyrighting food products linked to a certain territory or produced in a certain way. The EU’s GI scheme can benefit producers through acknowledging foods that have particular characteristics linked to their place of origin.

How to transfer this system to the UK after it leaves the Custom Union and Single Market had been one of the many issues discussed as part of Brexit talks, as the UK will be setting up its own GI scheme.

Irish Grass-Fed Beef is the name given to Irish beef raised on a grass-based diet on pasture farms in Ireland.

Achill Island Sea Salt is a hand-harvested sea salt from the waters around Achill Island in Co Mayo.

The first part of the process involves a national opposition procedure in Ireland, where a citizen can voice their objection; the second involves submitting an application to the European Commission.

Applications for registration must show how the region – through topographic, reputation, or natural resources – have an impact on the characteristics of the product.

Eight Irish products that have already achieved PGI status include Clare Island Salmon, Connemara Hill Lamb, the Waterford Blaa, and Sneem Black Pudding.

Applications for PGI status for Comeragh Mountain Lamb are pending for submission, while the European Commission is currently considering whether to grant PGI status to Wexford Blackcurrants.

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Three spirit drink names – Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream and Irish Poitín – have obtained GI status under Regulation (EU) No. 110/2008.

There are four weeks from today where those who wish to object to do so – the deadline is 5.45pm on Friday 11 September.

“Legitimate” opposition can be sent to: GeographicalIndications@agriculture.gov.ie, or by post to Food Industry Development Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Kildare St. Dublin, 2, D02WK12.

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