UK growers of a particular type of rhubarb have hailed the decision to award it special status as fantastic news for British food. Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, which is only grown in the 'Rhubarb Triangle' between Bradford, Wakefield and Leeds, joins products likes champagne and Parma Ham in having its name legally protected.
It is grown and harvested by candlelight using unique and traditional methods to produce a sweet and tender variety, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
It has been awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by an EU scheme which aims to protect regional and traditional foods throughout Europe, Defra announced.
The decision means only companies which produce the plant in the 'Rhubarb Triangle' can use the name. This guarantees that the product is authentic and prevents imitation throughout Europe.
It is the 41st British product to be added to the list of protected names, joining the likes of Swaledale Cheese, West Country Farmhouse Cheddar and Cornish Sardines.
Janet Oldroyd, of E Oldroyd & Sons rhubarb producers and the Yorkshire Rhubarb Growers Association, said: Awarding PDO status to Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb is fantastic news for British food.
To the 12 growers left in the Rhubarb Triangle, a future is now certain.
To the hundreds of farmers long since gone this is, in part, recognition of their hard work, dedication and steadfast belief in their product that has kept this industry alive since the early 1950s.
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn praised the rhubarb producers, saying: Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb has been recognised thanks to the quality of this traditionally grown product and the enthusiasm and commitment shown by all involved.
I want to see even more of the best of British produce being protected.
Jonathan Knight, the chief executive of the Regional Food Group for Yorkshire, said: This is a great achievement for the region.
”Patience, persistence, various meetings with the 12 key growers and a lot of effort on all parts has culminated in a fantastic result, which will help to confirm the unique Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle as the home of forced rhubarb”.