The European Union is reportedly worried that “British champagne” and “British Parma ham” could flood the continent after the UK leaves the EU.

Under current EU law, more than a thousand food and drink products, 59 of which are British,  have a “geographical indication status” (GI), meaning that they can only be produced in officially labelled areas.

However, Britain's impending departure from the 28-nation bloc could allow British companies to violate these protections, according to a report obtained by The Guardian.

Download the new Independent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

A violation would mean British firms could potentially start labelling products such as cheese and sparkling wine as British Parmesan and British Champagne, and export them to the continent.

In contrast, the report notes, British products would remain protected unless the EU commission decides to repeal the protections.

The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee drafted a warning, seen by the Guardian, which said: “As things currently stand, the UK has 59 such registered names [out of a total of 1,150 at EU level], including e.g. Lakeland Herwick Meat, West Country Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese, West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin [sea trout], and [economically important] Scotch Whisky.”

“The question of what will happen to EU GIs after the withdrawal of the UK is a difficult one.

“If no arrangements to another effect are made, the protection afforded by the above-mentioned legislation would normally cease to apply in the UK, which means that over a thousand European registered names could be exposed to violation in this neighbouring country of the EU27.”

The document warns: “It would be important therefore to include a mutual recognition of GIs in such an agreement on the model.”

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Create a commenting name to join the debate

Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted
Loading comments...
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Loading comments...
Loading comments...