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Welsh leek applies for protected status alongside Cheddar cheese and Cornish clotted cream

18 Feb 2022 2 minute read
Children wearing a leek on St. David’s Day. Picture by Geoff Charles / National Library of Wales. Public domain.

The Welsh leek is set to be given protected status, alongside foods such as Cheddar cheese and Cornish clotted cream.

If accepted it will join Gower Salt Marsh Lamb which became the first product to be awarded UK Geographical Indication (UK GI) Status last year.

The UK GI scheme was established at the beginning of 2021, following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The scheme ensures certain food and drink products can continue to receive legal protection against imitation and misuse.

Welsh growers have now made an application for the Welsh leek under the Protected Geographical Indication scheme.

If accepted it will mean that only Welsh leeks will be able to be sold with the UK GI logo, guaranteeing its produce comes from leeks grown in Wales.

Defra confirmed the product name of “Welsh leeks” is currently under consideration for registration as a UK Geographical Indication.

The leek is the national emblem of Wales. According to legend the patron saint of Wales, Saint David, ordered his Welsh soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the leek on their helmets in an ancient battle against the Saxons that took place in a leek field.

Wales’ other national symbol, the daffodil, is believed by some be a mix up related to the Welsh name for leek – ‘cenhinen’ – and the Welsh name for daffodil – ‘cenhinen Bedr’. More likely, it’s because the flower appears in time for Wales’ national day on 1 March.

Tim Casey, of the Leek Growers Association, said: “Wales’ association with the leek stretches back hundreds of years.

“In 633AD, Briton King Cadwaladr and his men were engaged in battle with invading Saxons.

“To distinguish themselves from the enemy, the Welsh wore leeks in their hats — and subsequently gained a great victory over the enemy.

“Today, soldiers from the Welsh Guards wear leeks in their helmets.

“Given this strong cultural heritage, it seems only fair that Welsh leeks should join Welsh lamb and be awarded protected PGI status.”

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2 years ago

It would have been nice if this were recognised world wide, but I suppose getting UK GI status, it is now protected against copies from England and Scotland, is a start, as the UK GI means nothing outside the UK, not even N Ireland, as it still uses the EU standard.

Pob lwc
Pob lwc
2 years ago

I don’t understand this – are leeks being marketed in the UK as “Welsh leeks”, when they’re not from Wales? I’d be shocked if they were, and if they’re not then what possible difference does this make?

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