Welsh delicacy made from seaweed is awarded special food status

[UK] A seaweed delicacy found on Welsh shores has been given protected food status so that no one can copy its production.

Laverbread is a seaweed paste that is often rolled in oatmeal and fried to eat with meat.

It is made from laver – a purple seaweed found around rocky shores in Wales.

The dish has now been awarded special designation under European law meaning no other producer can use its name – just like the protection given to Champagne, Stilton or Cornish Clotted Cream.

It joins the likes of Anglesey sea salt, Pembrokeshire early potatoes and Welsh lamb which have already been granted the status.

The status recognises foods which are produced, processed and prepared in a specific region using recognised expertise.

There are currently 80 protected names in the UK, made up of food products, wine, beers, ciders, spirits and wool.

Traditional seaweed products such as laverbread, a speciality in Wales, and dulse, a popular snack in Scotland, have been made on a relatively small scale for centuries.

But thanks to the endorsement of celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, who once even called for it to be added to hospital food, seaweed is being rebranded as a healthy salt replacement and flavouring.

Some manufacturers already include it in pizza and pasta dishes, and it can be used to make salads.

It is also found in health supplements and beauty products – and research is under way to use it in anti-cancer drugs and to help tackle obesity.

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, the Government agency behind a report released in 2016, says global seaweed production has increased from 10.5 million to 28.4 million tons since 2000.

 

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