The protection applies to all verified products sold in Great Britain as ‘Welsh Leeks’. As well as their distinctive strong peppery taste and vibrant green colour, Welsh Leeks are known to grow on harder, sometimes stony soil, including in coastal areas of Wales.
As the newest addition to the UK GI scheme, which protects a product’s name, characteristics, authenticity, and origin, Welsh Leeks will be traceable from field to fork, tracked throughout their growing, harvesting and sale.
92 GI products
This means that there are now 92 UK produced GI products: 81 agricultural and food products, six wines and five spirit drinks, such as Cornish clotted cream and Scotch Whisky.
Food and Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “Leeks have been intertwined with Welsh culture for centuries. But not only do they crop up again and again as national symbols throughout the nation’s rich history – they are a delicious part of the national cuisine across the whole country.”
Spencer added: “By protecting them as a UK Geographical Indication, we can make sure shoppers know what they have on their plate and producers are protected and can take full credit for their work.”
Parliamentary undersecretary in the Wales Office Dr James Davies said: “Shoppers will now be able to easily identify the iconic Welsh leek with its distinctive taste, giving Welsh leek producers an advantage, and helping them to expand and grow their businesses.”
Huw Thomas, chief executive at Puffin Produce, applied for Welsh Leeks to be designated as a GI.
“The Leek is an iconic emblem of Wales - we are incredibly proud to be able to grow Welsh Leeks and the GI status is hugely important to promote the quality and heritage behind this majestic crop,” he said.
“Welsh Leeks are found in numerous iconic Welsh recipes such as Cawl (soup) and in pork and leek sausages.”