Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has called on the UK Government to prioritise international agreement on protection for geographically special produce after Britain leaves the EU. Mr Carmichael asked the Secretary of State for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs, the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP, what his department is doing to ensure protection for British food producers is “at least as good” post-Brexit.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Carmichael highlighted the importance of schemes such as Protected Designation of Origin for food producers in the Northern Isles, including Orkney beef and Shetland lamb. In response, the Secretary of State agreed that these indicators are a “very, very useful tool”, and that he wants to see them continue after Brexit.
Commenting, Alistair Carmichael said:
“Protected geographical status legislation is one of the most important legacies of the European Union on our local economy.
“By ensuring that you are only allowed to sell ‘Orkney cheese’ or ‘Shetland wool’ if it has truly been produced in the islands, we protect our local businesses from being undercut by knock-off versions of their products.
“On top of that, British consumers also want to be able to buy their favourite European delicacies and be sure in the knowledge that they are the real thing.
“This is a fundamental part of being a full member of the European Union. If international agreement on this issue is not made a priority by this Government, it could have adverse consequences for businesses with unique island produce.”