Several Irish food and drink products have been granted Protected Geographical Status under European Union Law (applicable in the EU and Northern Ireland) and UK law (applicable in England, Wales and Scotland) through the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) or Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) regimes. The legislation is designed to protect regional foods and came into force in 1992.

Of course, our own Blaa received PGI status. In 2013 it joined other Irish claasic food stuff such as Clare Island Salmon (1999), Timoleague Brown Pudding (2000) and Connemara Hill Lamb (2007).

This means that only Blaas made by specialist bakers in Waterford city and county can be called Blaas. It guarantees an authentic heritage product, based on the traditional methods and the unique skills of the bakers. Waterford Blaas are now only supplied by traditional family bakers operating since the 1800’s.

The worth of this status means producers are recognised for the quality product they produce, which cannot be replicated elsewhere outside the region. The value of the status also means these products raise the profile of Ireland as a quality food-producing nation and helps producers to boost trade at home and abroad.

Though it’s not just food products, recipes and dishes can also be protected, like what sets the Neapolitan pizza apart from the rest. According to the international regulations of Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana it has to be roundish, with a raised crust (cornicione) and burn-free. The pizza dough has to be made only from type 00 or type 0 flour and it must be prepared by hand. Toppings must only come from the Campania region, extra virgin olive oil and either buffalo mozzarella or fior di latte cheese.

As recent as March of this year Irish Grass Fed Beef was awarded Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) status by the European Commission. Speaking at the event to mark the registration of the all-island PGI, Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said that Irish livestock farmers will benefit directly from the work that has been put in to secure the new PGI.

These laws protect the names of wines, cheeses, hams, sausages, seafood, olives, beers, Balsamic vinegar and even regional breads, fruits, raw meats and vegetables. Interestingly, cheese-based products are the third most protected food type, with 255 products protected under the EU.

There are very few drinks as rigorously protected as Champagne. According to various trade agreements and treaties, European and international laws. Champagne can only be produced in Champagne, France using the méthode champenoise, which means the last stage of fermentation occurs in the bottle. Though interestingly, Californian champagne is legal. Even though the US signed the Treaty of Versailles, which included an article protecting French Champagne, it was never ratified by the Senate.

Receiving this kind of protected status for your product is, and should be, a long an arduous process. EU quality policy aims to protect the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how.

Product names can be granted a ‘geographical indication’ (GI) if they have a specific link to the place where they are made. The GI recognition enables consumers to trust and distinguish quality products while also helping producers to market their products better.

NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website, or email