THE famous Stornoway black pudding delicacy has finally been granted protected status after seven years of campaigning – putting it in the same league as Champagne and Arbroath Smokie.
Stornoway’s four butchers sought Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status from the European Commission – claiming inferior imitation products from around the world had tried stealing their name.
The new PGI means it can only be described as Stornoway Black Pudding if it is produced in the town or parish of Stornoway on Lewis.
The EC decision follows a campaign by the butchers, spearheaded by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant.
Donnie Morrison, Manager of Charles Macleod Butchers, said: “The Stornoway Black Pudding Producers Association is delighted to have achieved recognition through the PGI accreditation for our product.
“It has been a long, hard fought journey and we have been so encouraged by the support that we have received from our loyal staff and customers, the Scottish Government, Defra and our local politicians.
“The feedback we have received from our fan base across the world has been so positive; so many folk hold the iconic Stornoway Black Pudding close to their hearts and so supported our campaign to protect our product from “copycat” manufacturers.
“The Stornoway Black Pudding has been made in the Outer Hebrides for hundreds of years on the crofts and so the emergence of imitation “Stornoway Style” black puddings in the market place proved to be a very real threat to the economic well being of the Stornoway Butchers’ businesses that trade in a national and international market place.
“Our aim has always been to protect the Stornoway brand - it’s a food product that is intrinsically linked back to the Outer Hebrides and we have a duty to safeguard the islands food heritage. We are extremely thankful to all our supporters who have helped us over the last five years.”
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant described the awarding of the protected status as “brilliant news”.
She said: “I am delighted that Stornoway Black Pudding has been awarded Protected Geographical Indicator status by the European Commission.
“This helps put Stornoway on the map as a producer of high quality produce and ensures the unique black pudding cannot be replicated anywhere else.
“Now when you see Stornoway Black Pudding you know that it is the genuine high quality product, you know where it has been produced and you know it is directly benefiting the Islands economy.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Stornoway Black Pudding is a world-renowned delicacy that truly deserves protected status which guarantees the provenance of this iconic Scottish product.
“PGI status is widely recognised as a sign of true provenance and has undoubtedly helped increase valuable export sales while enhancing Scotland’s reputation for having some of the best produce in the world.
“The award of PGI status is excellent news for the local area and testament to the hard work of the Stornoway Black Pudding Association and the four butchers who worked in partnership to grasp the opportunity to protect their premier product.
“It is important that people know where their food comes from – this certification gives customers from home and abroad the guarantee that what they are buying is the genuine product, made in Stornoway, to the consistently high levels of quality they expect.
“Scotland is the destination for high quality produce and there is massive potential for us to take advantage of the PFN scheme. With interest in local food having never been greater, I would urge Scottish companies and producers to consider how they can take advantage of this scheme.”
The European Commission approved seven requests, including the Stornoway Black Pudding, for registration of Protected Denominations of Origin (PDOs) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs).
They included Lakeland Herdwick (PDO) - meat of lamb and sheep of the Herdwick breed born, raised and slaughtered in the county of Cumbria.
For Italy, the Pandorte di Siena (PGI) - a typical pastry made in the province of Siena, and the Salmerino del Trentino (PGI) - a salmonid fish, bred in the Province of Trento and the municipality of Bagolino.
For Greece, Xira Syka Taxiarchi (PDO)- figs of the Smyrna variety, produced in Northern Evia and dried naturally in the sun.
For France, Ail fume d’Arleux (PGI) - a pink spring garlic, smoked in a traditional way and presented in braids.
And, for Germany, Eichsfelder Feldgieker (PGI) - a sausage produced by traditional processing of warm meat in the Eischsfeld region.
The decision should be published in the next few days in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The denomination will then be added to the list of more than 1,000 products already protected by the legislation on protection of geographical indications, denominations of origin and traditional specialties.
They include the Arbroath Smokie, Champagne and the Cornish Pasty.