Wales’ national vegetable and emblem, the Welsh leek, is now officially protected from imitation and misuse thanks to the efforts of a Pembrokeshire company.

The Welsh leek has now gained PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) UK GI status.

The UK GI scheme was established at the beginning of 2021, following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and ensures certain food and drink products can continue to receive legal protection against imitation and misuse.

The application for Welsh leeks PGI status was led by Pembrokeshire’s Puffin Produce, who already have Pembrokeshire Earlies PGI under their belt.

“The leek is an iconic emblem of Wales,” said Huw Thomas, CEO of Puffin Produce.

“We are incredibly proud to be able to grow Welsh leeks and the GI status is hugely important to promote the quality and heritage behind this majestic crop.”

From now on, Welsh leeks sold with the UK GI logo will promote the heritage and culture of Wales and provide the product and consumers with certification of quality and uniqueness.

The leek becomes the third new Welsh product to achieve the highly sought-after UK GI status, following on from Gower Salt Marsh Lamb and Cambrian Mountains Lamb.

Welsh Leeks also becomes the 19th member of the Welsh GI family of products, joining the likes of other great produce such as Anglesey Sea Salt, Welsh Lamb, Welsh Beef and Pembrokeshire Earlies. Each family member is Welsh to the core and uniquely linked to the landscapes and seascapes which nurture them.

Welsh leeks are grown and harvested in Wales and are a product of several hybrid varieties, rather than one specific variety.

They produce a final product which has its own specific characteristics, such as the predominant long distinctive dark green flag which comprises over 40 per cent of the overall length of the leek.

Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “This is great news today and I congratulate all those involved in gaining this prestigious award for Welsh leeks. Leeks are a historic symbol of Wales, known across the world, and I’m very pleased to see this product gain the recognition and prestige it deserves.”