Welsh Leeks secures protection
Wales’ national vegetable and emblem, the Welsh Leek, is now officially protected as it gains PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) UK GI status.
It becomes the third new Welsh product to achieve the highly sought-after UK GI status, following on from Gower Salt Marsh Lamb and Cambrian Mountains Lamb.
Welsh Leeks also becomes the 19th member of the Welsh GI family of products, joining the likes of other great produce such as Anglesey Sea Salt, Welsh Lamb, Welsh Beef and Pembrokeshire Earlies. Each family member is Welsh to the core and uniquely linked to the landscapes and seascapes which nurture them.
The UK GI scheme was established at the beginning of 2021, following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and ensures certain food and drink products can continue to receive legal protection against imitation and misuse.
From now on, Welsh Leeks sold with the UK GI logo will promote the heritage and culture of Wales and provide the product and consumers with certification of quality and uniqueness.
The application for Welsh Leeks PGI status was led by Pembrokeshire’s Puffin Produce, who already have Pembrokeshire Earlies PGI under their belt.
Huw Thomas, CEO, Puffin Produce, said: “The leek is an iconic emblem of Wales - we are incredibly proud to be able to grow Welsh Leeks and the GI status is hugely important to promote the quality and heritage behind this majestic crop.”
Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “This is great news today and I congratulate all those involved in gaining this prestigious award for Welsh Leeks. Leeks are a historic symbol of Wales, known across the world, and I’m very pleased to see this product gain the recognition and prestige it deserves.”
Welsh Leeks are grown and harvested in Wales and are a product of several hybrid varieties, rather than one specific variety.
The hybrid varieties used to produce ‘Welsh Leeks’ are those most suited to Welsh growing conditions. They produce a final product which has its own specific characteristics, such as the predominant long distinctive dark green flag which comprises over 40% of the overall length of the leek.
‘Welsh Leeks’ are normally planted from late February through to May and harvested from August through until April/May, with some crops remaining in the ground for up to 12 months. The leeks can be left in the ground without affecting their quality, leading to slower maturation providing more time for the peppery flavour and buttery aroma to fully develop.
Notes to editors
Welsh GI family
When Welsh Leeks is awarded UK GI status, Wales will have a ‘Welsh GI family’ of 19 products.
1. Welsh Beef
2. Welsh Lamb
3. Pembrokeshire Earlies
4. Anglesey Sea Salt
5. Conwy Mussels
6. Carmarthen Ham
7. Traditionally Reared Pedigree Welsh Pork
8. West Wales Coracle Caught Salmon
9. West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin
10. Welsh Laverbread
11. Traditional Welsh Perry
12. Traditional Welsh Cider
13. Welsh Wine
14. Welsh Wine
15. Traditional Welsh Caerphilly
16. The Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum
17. Gower Salt Marsh Lamb
18. Cambrian Mountains Lamb
19. Welsh Leeks
The Welsh Government provides expert advice on how to qualify and apply for UKGI status and funds support to promote the Welsh GI family. For information about applying for a UKGI or protected status please contact UKGI.Wales@gov.wales
UK GI scheme
The UK Geographical Indication schemes (UK GI) have been established following the UK's exit from the EU.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is the competent authority for the GI schemes in the UK (including Northern Ireland).
GI products have a geographical connection or are made using traditional methods. GI protection guarantees a product’s characteristics or reputation, authenticity, and origin. It protects the product name from misuse or imitation when the product is sold in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales).
There are 4 UK GI schemes:
- Food Agricultural Products
- Aromatised wine
- Spirit Drinks
And 3 designations which are represented by their own logos:
- protected designation of origin (PDO)
- protected geographical indication (PGI)
- traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG)
An individual or business does not own a GI. Any producer can make and sell a product under a registered product name if they
- follow the product’s specification
- are verified to do so
Specifications for Welsh product names are available in Welsh (Cymraeg)