Assurances given over protected Scottish food and drink status after Brexit

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell

The Scottish Secretary has tried to allay fears over the removal of protected status, post-Brexit, for the highest quality Scottish food and drinks.

Stornoway Black Pudding and Scotch Whisky are among food and drink items which are part of the EU system of Protected Geographical Indicators, which also covers Champagne and Parma Ham.

But reports have emerged about US lobbyists demanding the right to manufacture their own versions of protected UK food and drink in a future trade deal, once the UK leaves the EU.

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, Lib Dem, asked Scottish Secretary David Mundell to give assurances that food including Orkney Beef and Shetland Lamb would continue to be protected after Brexit.

And Mr Mundell, Conservative, dismissed the reports as “scare stories”

He said: “I can assure Mr Carmichael that, despite scare stories to the contrary that have appeared in some parts of the media, there will be no change to the protection of those brands or an allowing in of false brands.”

The GMB union in Scotland has also called for guarantees because EU legislation will need to be replicated in UK law after Brexit to protect the Scotch Whisky industry.

Senior organiser Louise Gilmour said she would continue to lobby Mr Mundell on the issue.

She added: “Billions of pounds of value and tens of thousands of jobs are supported by whisky and spirits exports to the rest of the world – it’s the jewel in the crown of our world-class food and drinks sector and we can’t do without it.

“For a year now, we have warned the government about the threats posed to the sector by Brexit and by future trade deal negotiations.

“But Mr Mundell has dodged and ducked our calls for answers and interventions at every opportunity.

“If the UK government surrenders Scotch whisky’s PGI for a quick-fire trade deal with the US to paper over the Brexit cracks, they would be as well putting a ‘Scotland for Sale’ sign on the door.

“Along with the livelihoods of thousands of workers.”