One of the many unknowns in the transition to a post-Brexit food supply involves the future of foods whose traditional or locality-specific status is currently protected by EU law. There are 77 British products, from cheese to whisky, that have been granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) labels. According to the European Commission, such items sell for an average 2.3 times more than similar but non-authenticated items.
One of these foods is PDO Single Gloucester cheese. Having started by milking three cows by hand, the farmer who makes it now exports to 30 countries. He employs a Romanian cowherd and two cheese makers, one Polish and one Bulgarian (the latter having been making cheese on the farm for 13 years). The farmer says his Romanian employee has milking experience from his home country that is not often found among young British jobseekers. The farm workers' right to live and work in Britain may be jeopardised by Brexit, and the farmer does not know whether his cheese will retain its protected status after the UK leaves the EU. But he voted for Brexit. His story is probably replicated many times across the UK.
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Published 3 Mar 2017
Sustain: Sustain The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.