Legal protection of certain Irish foods strengthened by law

New measures to protect the intellectual property in certain Irish foods have been brought into law, the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has announced.

The new measures strengthen the legal protection of Geographical Indications for Irish food products.

The regulations protect the intellectual property in certain Irish foods recognised under EU law as protected designations of origin (PDO), protected geographical indications (PGI) and traditional specialities guaranteed (TSG), the Department says.

They provide for the appointment of authorised officers and for control and enforcement powers, to ensure that the protected names and designations are not used on products manufactured elsewhere in the EU, it says.

The quality of PDO/PGI/TSG products is linked to a combination of climatic and geological traits with the historic skills of producers, it says.

Minister Coveney said that the introduction of these measures is a critically important protection for Irish companies developing key points of differentiation for their products based on the places and traditions from which they emerge.

“They will provide vital protection for Irish food GIs such as Connemara Hill Lamb, Waterford Blaa and Imokilly Regato, but also for PDO, PGI and TSG products from other EU countries, which are offered for sale in Ireland.

“The new measures will provide further assurance to consumers that products bearing the EU geographical indication symbols are genuine,” he said.

Among the EU food products which have demonstrated the link between climatic and geological traits with the historic skills of producers are Parma ham, Feta cheese, Armagh Bramley apples, Lough Neagh Eels, Down Comber potatoes and Puy Lentils, it says.

The legislation referred to is the EU (Quality Schemes for Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs) Regulations 2015.

A geographical indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin, it says.