By Debbie James

Iconic food brands ranging from Welsh lamb and beef to early potatoes grown in Pembrokeshire are in danger of losing their protected geographical indication (PGI) status post-Brexit.

In 2013, the Pembrokeshire early potato joined the elite ranks of champagne and Parma ham when it was awarded PGI status by the European Commission.

Only potatoes originating in the county can be called a Pembrokeshire early potato.

Ten years earlier, Welsh lamb was awarded PGI status and in November 2002 Welsh beef.

But doubt has been raised over whether this branding can be applied to food produced in a non-European Union country.

NFU chief food chain adviser, says it is unclear how PGI products would fit into the European Union framework for food products.

“We need to ensure that all the hard work that has gone into achieving PGI status is not lost after we leave the EU,’’ she warns.

It is possible for non-EU products to achieve PGI status, but equivalent protection will need to be passed into UK law before Brexit to ensure a smooth transition.

It is estimated that for Welsh lamb, having PGI status provides the farmer with a premium of £1.70 a kilo above other types of lamb and is worth an extra £1m a year to the industry.

PGI branding has helped to boost sales of many foods produced in Wales, including traditional Welsh perry and traditional Welsh cider and Carmarthen ham.

With uncertainty over future trade deals and the threat of tariffs, supply to the domestic market of food produced in Wales will have added significance going forward.

NFU Cymru’s Livestock Board Chairman, Wyn Evans, predicts that domestic consumption will be “paramount.’’

He has called on retailers to provide a “clear and transparent’’ commitment to sourcing UK products and dedicated shelf space for those.

But farmers must do their bit too, warns John Dracup, red meat procurement director at 2 Sisters.

“We need to ensure that the product delivers on the plate for the consumer every time,’’ he says.