Smoking out uncertainty over our specialist foods in the shadow of Brexit

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 25 Jul 2018

IT took 10 years to achieve BUT could have only stood for 10 years more ... so detail in the Brexit White Paper seeking protection of specialist foods post our EU withdrawal has been welcomed by Grimsby’s traditional fish smokers.

Jubilantly celebrated back in October 2009, Brussels bureaucrats finally gave the century-old craft of smoking haddock the same status as Champagne, Parma ham and Melton Mowbray pork pies after an arduous battle fought chiefly by then-owner of Alfred Enderby, Richard Enderby.

It gave justification to the long-held premium claim, propelling it on to fine dining menus and into the minds of celebrity chefs, who lapped up the story of the smoke-filled pits operated by a handful of experienced merchants.

But after the vote to leave, far higher weighted in the town than the national 52:48 split gave, the future of the blue and yellow badge of pride was up in the cool North Sea air that forms part of its particular designation.

Patrick Salmon has now taken on the docks-based business of the smoker at the forefront, winning a first listing in Lincolnshire Co-op for the county’s only protected food.

Read more: Protecting our smokehouses ‘is in the interest of EU nations’ after Brexit

He said: “We are very delighted that the UK is firmly committed to the protection of recognised protected food in the UK. It is what we hoped for, and expected, and a good thing. It can be UK branded and it is important that protection exists for unique or largely artisan produced foods.”

Mr Salmon represents the area on the Protected Food Names Committee, which is chaired my Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association chief, Matthew O’Callaghan. It was briefed on the paper’s contents,

Read more: Fishermen will not be sold-out to keep Grimsby seafood processors happy, Government pledges

“The White Paper is suggesting there will be a new scheme that touches on the World Trade Organisation agreement,” he said. “Our only concern is there is no mention of making the scheme reciprocal with the current EU scheme, which provides a seamless protection for our products in Europe, whether it is smoked fish, cheese or whisky. There are some big export markets, not necessarily for Grimsby traditional, but the protection is important.”

Grimsby Traditional Smoked Fish as it will be sold at the Lincolnshire Co-op.

While the White Paper is no means a certainty of outcome, it does put in black and white the Government’s desired outcome, indicating policy and positioning ahead of the posturing in negotiations.

It states: “Included in the remit of wider food policy rules are the specific protections given to some agri-food products, such as Geographical Indications (GIs). GIs recognise the heritage and provenance of products which have a strong traditional or cultural connection to a particular place. They provide registered products with legal protection against imitation, and protect consumers from being misled about the quality or geographical origin of goods. Significant GI-protected products from the UK include Scotch whisky, Scottish farmed salmon, and Welsh beef and lamb.

“The UK will be establishing its own GI scheme after exit, consistent with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS). This new UK framework will go beyond the requirements of TRIPS, and will provide a clear and simple set of rules on GIs, and continuous protection for UK GIs in the UK. The scheme will be open to new applications, from both UK and non-UK applicants, from the day it enters into force.”

Read more: Grimsby's prestigious PGI smoked fish now offered to the town on home delivery



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