Ayrshire new potatoes given special EU protection
Ayrshire new potatoes have been granted EU protection against unauthorised imitation.
Ayrshire new potatoes have become the latest Scottish product to be granted EU protection against unauthorised imitation.
The potatoes, also known as Ayrshire Earlies, join a list of products including Scotch whisky, Stornoway Black Pudding and Scottish salmon, which also have protected geographic indication (PGI) status.
The current system of EU geographical indications ensures only products from a particular region can be badged as such and prevents them from being imitated by others.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "This is great news for Ayrshire potato growers, particularly given the current uncertainty for the industry being 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 but also assures consumers at home and abroad that they can trust the product they are buying, and 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 the Girvan Early Growers for making this happen."
Andrew Young, of Girvan Early Growers, said: "The 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 are, and we hope that it will help to secure the future of potato growing in Ayrshire by assuring customers they are buying a genuine article with provenance, quality and flavour."
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also hailed the announcement.
She tweeted: "Great news. I was born and brought up there so I know I'm biased, but there's no beating Ayrshire new tatties."
Some people go to great lengths to secure a supply of the product. Last year, Jamie McCoo made a 1,000-mile round trip from Kent to Scotland to dig up his own supply.
Mr McCoo, from Deal, who was brought up in Scotland, travelled north to collect 25kg of his favourite Ayrshire new potatoes.