19 March 2018Trademarks

Scottish DNA initiative aims to beef up GI protection

A new initiative has proposed using DNA monitoring to protect the Scotch beef industry from counterfeit products.

Scotch beef has geographical indication (GI) status, meaning that the beef must be at least partially manufactured (prepared, processed or produced) in Scotland.

The DNA traceability initiative was proposed by Scotland’s red meat industry body, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS).

Jim McLaren, chairman of QMS, said that the industry must be able to defend the integrity of the brand from counterfeit producers.

He claimed that the introduction of a DNA monitoring programme would help achieve this by further protecting the Scotch beef GI brand.

“We need to ensure its premium market position is protected and it is possible that DNA testing may offer the potential to take the existing quality assurance and brands integrity measures in place to a new level,” said McLaren.

A feasibility study commissioned by QMS is currently being tendered. If approved, it will consider how a DNA traceability system could benefit the Scotch beef GI brand and how such a system could be implemented—including when and where samples would be taken.

According to McLaren, in conjunction with the Scottish red meat industry, QMS has worked hard to develop the Scotch beef GI brand. He said that Scotch beef was one of the first meat brands to benefit from GI status, which is recognised as an “icon of quality”.

“Our beef producers in Scotland benefit from a price premium for their beef and it is vital that this valuable reward for the work they do to deliver a quality product is not undermined,” he said.

Scotch beef is not Scotland’s only GI product from Scotland.

As reported by WIPR in February, advocate general (AG) Saugmandsgaard Øe issued his opinion in a dispute involving the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and a German producer who named his whisky “Glen Buchenbach”.

SWA took issue with the name at the Regional Court of Hamburg, Germany, arguing that the word “glen” indicated the whisky comes from Scotland.

The AG said: “It’s not sufficient that the designation is liable to evoke in the relevant public some kind of association of ideas with the indication or the relevant geographical area.”

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22 February 2018   When the average European consumer is confronted with a comparable product bearing the designation ‘Glen’, is the image of ‘Scotch whisky’ triggered in their mind?