Ayrshire New Potatoes, also known as Ayrshire Earlies because they are traditionally harvested early in the year, have been registered as a Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) by the European Union, thanks to a successful application by Girvan Early Growers.
This status offers extra protection against unauthorised imitation of Ayrshire Earlies, as no other products can be sold under that name.
On a visit to Girvan Early Growers, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP said:
“This is great news for Ayrshire potato growers, particularly given the current uncertainty for the industry caused by Brexit.
“Scotland has an unrivalled global reputation for quality food and drink produced from our own natural larder. PGI status not only helps protect the provenance of products like Scotch Whisky, Stornoway Black Pudding and Arbroath Smokies, it also assures consumers at home and abroad that they can trust the product they are buying. It also ensures that the right expertise, ingredients and methods of production are being used.
“I’m delighted that Ayrshire Earlies are the latest fine Scottish product to benefit from that protection. My congratulations to Girvan Early Growers for making this happen.”
Andrew Young, Girvan Early Growers, said:
“Ayrshire Potato Growers are delighted to have achieved PGI status, to protect a product that is over 120 years old. It is good to be recognised the same way as so many other high quality food and drink items and we hope that it help to secure the future of potato growing in Ayrshire by assuring customers they are buying a genuine article with provenance, quality and flavour.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Achieving PGI status is an important milestone for Ayrshire potato growers, as it means no one who grows potatoes outside Ayrshire will be able to sell their produce under that name.
“Congratulations to Girvan Early Growers on this achievement, which will help protect them and their suppliers against unfair competition.
“The UK Government says that the EU PGI schemes will continue to offer protection after the UK leaves the EU in a deal or - likely - no deal scenario. If the EU does not continue to protect such products, I am hopeful that reapplication as a third country may be possible, ensuring continuing protection of iconic products, such as Ayrshire Earlies.”