The name “Sneem Black Pudding” has recently been awarded “Protected Geographical Indication” (PGI) status by the European Commission. This is the first traditional food name from Kerry to be awarded this valuable EU quality badge which officially recognises that the Sneem name is an indicator of the high quality and distinctive characteristics of the particular type of black pudding associated with the area.
Sneem Black Pudding has been made for decades in the small village of Sneem in South Kerry. The pudding is made from fresh blood from local pigs, lambs and cows, combined with onions, oats, beef suet and spices and is baked in trays rather than boiled. The pudding is also cut and sold in squares rather than rings which is a further unique characteristic of the product. The special pudding is currently only produced by Sneem village butchers Kieran Burns and Peter O’Sullivan who make it to a traditional recipe dating back to the early 1950’s when local households had to ensure that every part of their farm animal, usually the family pig, was used to the full with no waste. The Kerry name will now enjoy the same EU protection as other Irish food EU PGI designations such as Connemara Hill Lamb, Clare Island Salmon, Waterford Blaa and Timoleague Brown Pudding.
EU quality schemes such as the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) scheme aim at protecting the names of specific food and agricultural products to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin, as well as traditional knowhow. PGIs and Protected Designation of Origin (PDOs) protect the name of a product, which is from a specific region and follows a particular traditional production process. However there are differences between PGIs and PDOs depending on how much of the raw materials come from the area or how much of the production process has to take place in the specific region.
PROTECTED DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN (PDO)
PDO names have the strongest links to the place of production in that every part of the food production, preparation and processing must take place in the specific region. Examples of PDOs include Gorgonzola, Parmegiano Reggiano and Roquefort. To qualify as Roquefort, for example, the cheese must be produced from milk from a certain breed of sheep, and must mature in caves near the town of Roquefort-Sur-Soulzon in France. Kalamata Olive Oil PDO is entirely produced in Kalamata, Greece, using olive varieties only from Kalamata.
PROTECTED GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION (PGI)
In the case of PGIs, at least one of the stages of processing, preparation and production must take place in the particular region. In the case of Sneem Black Pudding, the pudding must be made in Sneem in the Sneem area of Kerry, but some of the raw materials, for example, the oats and spices may come from other parts of Ireland or elsewhere.
In the case of both PDOs and PGIs, only products which meet the quality and geographical criteria may use the protected name in the EU. Rights in the PGI and PDO names may be enforced in the different EU countries to prevent misuse by means of local trade and business laws such as unfair competition law, unfair advertising or passing off (in Ireland and the UK). In an era where the purchasing public is increasingly aware of the origin, composition and mode of production of the food that it buys, the protected name Sneem Black Pudding will hopefully promote Sneem as a centre of food excellence and a destination for food conscious travellers.