More Welsh foods to get 'protected' status
More Welsh produce could receive protected status under plans from the Welsh Assembly Government.
Currently, only Wesh beef and lamb have special designation under European law, alongside produce such as Parma ham and Jersey Royal Potatoes.
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones says up to eight products will be put forward in the next two years.
Cardigan Bay Prawns, Welsh cider and perry are now being assessed for protected status.
"The benefits for the sector have been tremendous in terms of consumer and trade recognition both within the United Kingdom but also overseas," said Ms Jones.
Three EU schemes known as protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI) and traditional speciality guaranteed (TSG) promote and protect names of "quality agricultural produce".
The schemes protect produce which:
- is made and prepared in a given geographical area using "recognised know-how"
- is closely linked to a geographical area
- has "traditional character", either in the composition or means of production
In the UK, 44 products have special designation status, including Cornish Clotted Cream and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies.
The Welsh Assembly Government said it was allocating £75,000 towards the initiative.
Gwyn Howells, chief executive of Meat Promotion Wales, which oversees the application process for red meat and pig meat products, said the protection gave Welsh lamb and beef "access to an exclusive club which includes Parma ham and champagne".
He said: "It gives an edge in the marketplace, especially in the export marketplace."
Earlier this week a Chinese government official said it was a "matter of time" before his country signs a potentially lucrative lamb export deal with Wales.
Speaking at the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd, in Powys, Minister Counsellor Zhou Xiaoming said there was a "great demand" for premium meat in China.
Steve Garrett, chair of the Riverside Farmers' Market in Cardiff, told BBC Radio Wales: "Traceability is a big thing but where do you draw the line?
"Brussel's sprouts don't come from Brussels, for example."
He added: "Such protected status is good for local people to know the origin of produce, but also for tourists to Wales as well."
Mr Howells said Meat Promotion Wales would be putting Welsh pork forward for PGI status in the next 18 months.
"We have got some very good secrets in terms of food and drink in Wales," he said.
"Caerphilly cheese, our very good beers in Wales, and the sea food" could benefit form protected status, he said.