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By EAMON FENLON Managing Director, Jersey Dairy.


Jersey dairy


There is a growing enthusiasm among consumers for high quality food with a clear regional identity, and Jersey is no exception. Luckily, Jersey dairy products are particularly delicious and beneficial.


There are a significant number of dairy products produced in the UK that are marketed as either ‘Jersey’ or ‘Channel Islands’ but there are no rules or regulations that specify what can be called a ‘Jersey’ or ‘Guernsey’ cow. So there’s no guarantee that these Channel Islands’ products are as healthy and nutritious as that available in the Island.


Indeed, I understand that a significant percentage of the ‘Jersey’ and ‘Guernsey’ cows in the UK, whose milk is used in making these products are not pedigree cows. Of course all the Jersey cows in the Island of Jersey supplying milk to Jersey Dairy are 100% pedigree as are all the Guernsey cows in Guernsey supplying milk to Guernsey Dairy.


In 2008 Jersey Dairy applied to have Jersey butter approved under the European Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)


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scheme. This EU scheme identifies regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed, and aims to safeguard them. A named food or drink which has been registered as PDO is given legal protection against imitation throughout EU.


Jersey Dairy believed that the PDO application would help the consumer identify butter that is 100% Jersey rather than a butter that uses the breed’s name to imply that it is part of the Island’s unique heritage and tradition of quality. If Jersey Dairy’s application had been successful, it would have been the first butter in the UK to be awarded a PDO, although there are six regional butters in Europe that already have the status.


However the decision letter from DEFRA in November 2010 following the application for a PDO for Jersey Butter said: The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) considers that the application from the Jersey Milk Marketing Board to register Jersey Butter as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) does not satisfy the criteria in Council


Regulation (EC) No 510/2006 on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs (“Regulation 510/2006”). We were extremely disappointed with the DEFRA decision and do not agree with the reasonings outlined in the report. However, Jersey Dairy did not appeal the decision as we did not have the financial resource to do so.


Jersey Dairy has been invited by DEFRA to submit a PDO application for Jersey Island Butter and we are currently in the process of doing so. This follows the 2009 statement by the UK Food Standards Authority that "milk marketed as Channel Island Milk, in our opinion gives a clear indication to the origin of the milk - the Channel Islands. Therefore, if the milk is not produced from dairy herds in the Channel Islands, this would be misleading and therefore an offence under general food law".


A subsequent statement issued by DEFRA in June 2011 states that milk having the description “Channel Island milk” applied to it should be produced from dairy herds in the Channel Islands unless there is a suitably prominent statement in some way qualifying the description, for example, from Jersey cattle farmed in Devon.


So when you buy Jersey dairy products in Jersey, you know that they have been produced by local Jerseys.


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