Brexit: EU worried it will be flooded by 'British champagne' once Leave vote ends food and drink protection rules
Under current EU law, more than a thousand food and drink products have a 'geographical indication status' meaning that they can only be produced in officially labelled areas
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.
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.”