The European Commission has granted the Waterford Blaa a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status which will rank it alongside other well known protected Irish products such as Connemara Hill Lamb and Clare Island Salmon. PGI status ensures that only Blaas that are produced in Waterford can bear the name.
A Blaa is a soft white bread roll or bap strongly associated with Waterford City. As a result of this designation, only bakers in Waterford city and county and in part of south Kilkenny can now label their produce as being Waterford Blaas. The Waterford Blaa Bakers Association had worked with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Commission to establish the significance of the Blaa and was cited by Minister Simon Coveney as “an example to all that Irish products can achieve success at the highest level”.
In order to be designated as a PGI, which is essentially a symbol of quality within the European Union, a product must come from a particular place and possess a specific quality, reputation or other characteristic attributable to that defined geographic area. The product must also be produced within that particular determined area. The real benefit of a designation is that it prevents producers from outside the area producing similar goods and labeling them with the particular name protected. This can have a positive economic effect on the designated area. Famous PGIs across Europe include Champagne, Camembert, Feta cheese and Parma ham.
Now that the PGI status of the Waterford Blaa has been achieved, Minister Coveney has indicated that it is his intention to encourage other groups of producers to work with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to have more Irish produce granted PGI status