South East MEP Catherine Bearder has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament today that could see Sussex trugs gain protection under EU law.
The EU currently gives protected status to traditional foods and drinks which currently includes Cornish pasties, Cumberland sausages and Stilton cheese. The scheme protects local agricultural products from cheap imitations imports and helps to boost sales abroad. However, no foods and drinks in the South East/Sussex have yet achieved the status.
Last year the EU put forward a consultation on extending the scheme beyond agricultural products to local artisanal goods such as Sussex trugs. Catherine Bearder met with local trug-makers and suggested they apply for the new protected status, which would help prevent them from being undercut by cheap imitations from overseas. Now that the European Parliament has formally approved the idea, she is calling for a fully-fledged EU law to be put forward in the coming months that would see local products like Sussex trugs protected.
Catherine Bearder commented:
"I'm delighted MEPs have given the green light to protect local products such as Sussex trugs.
"Traditional foods and drinks like Parma ham and champagne already enjoy strong protection under EU law. There's no reason this shouldn't be extended to hand-made artisanal products.
"Traditional trug-makers are currently being undercut by cheap imitations from China, but using the full weight of the EU we can put this to an end.
"We now need to turn this proposal into law and that is what I will be campaigning for in the coming months."