The EU has amended current legislation to include lamb in the co-funded promotion of agricultural products after five years of talks in which the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), through its beef and lamb division EBLEX, has played a pivotal role. The new rules are due to come into force at the end of this month.
Current EU regulations mean that promotional campaigns are limited to only fresh, chilled or frozen meat produced in accordance with a community or a national quality scheme.
While sheep meat with Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs) and Protected Designation of Origins (PDOs) plays a positive role in enhancing the consumption of EU sheep meat, quality schemes only cover a very limited proportion of the EU’s sheep production.
Peter Hardwick, EBLEX head of trade development, said: “This is something that EBLEX and the NFU have recognised and worked hard on as a key priority for some time and we very much welcome this positive move. The change recognises that sheep farming often takes place in Less Favoured Areas of the EU, including in the UK, and that this sector needs support. It is therefore pleasing that there has finally been some recognition that the sector needs direct, generic promotion to stimulate consumption.
“There has been a steady decrease in consumption of lamb since 2000 and this change to the rules will help increase consumer awareness of the sustainability and quality of the product. It will stimulate demand for European lamb products.”