Weir questions Arbroath Smokie protection at PMQs

Arbroath Smokies.
Arbroath Smokies.

Angus MP Mike Weir used the occasion of the last Prime Ministers Questions of the year to raise the issue of the Arbroath Smokie and future protection under the EU PGI (Protected Geographical Indicator) scheme.

Mr Weir asked the Prime Minister: “The Arbroath Smokie, along with many other food and drink products, have benefitted from the European Union’s PGI scheme. What guarantee can the Prime Minister give of continued protection should we leave the EU?”

Mr Weir said that the issue was a vital one for the food industry both in Scotland and further afield.

He said: “Arbroath ran a great campaign to have the Smokie included within the PGI scheme, but it also covers many other iconic food and drink products, in Scotland and beyond, including Orkney Cheese, Scotch Beef and Lamb Stornoway Black Pudding, and of course Scotch Whisky.

“The PGI name scheme awards protected status to goods, ensuring they can only be made in the area indicated on the label, by set methods. The scheme was established to prevent consumers being scammed or misled, and to control the quality of certain culturally significant products.

“Many in the industry are very worried that protection will be lost if we exit the European Union and that this could seriously undermine these important brands and have a devastating impact upon the local economy in many parts of Scotland.

“Scotland has some of the largest protected food names in the EU, with products such as Scotch Beef and Scottish Farmed Salmon accounting for around £700m in sales.

“It is disappointing that the Prime Minister failed to give an assurance that this issue was on her radar and fell back on vague expressions that all issues will be looked at during the negotiations. Yet again we are getting no reassurance that the issues that matter are high on the UK government’s agenda and will be seriously pursued.”