Page last updated at 18:53 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 19:53 UK

Manx Loaghtan lamb EU protected

Manx Loaghtan Lamb
The sheep are thought to have been introduced in prehistoric times

The meat from a breed of four-horned sheep unique to the Isle of Man has been given the European Union Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) stamp.

It now joins foods such as Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano and Champagne which can only be labelled as such if they come from the designated region.

Loaghtan lamb is less fatty and darker than meat from more commercial breeds.

The sheep are thought to have been introduced in prehistoric times or to have been introduced by the Vikings.

George Steriopulos, of the Manx Loaghtan Marketing Cooperative, who are responsible for the award, said: "This European recognition will ensure that both the breed and the meat are protected in terms of their identity and the recognition of the provenance and quality of product.

"The legislation came into force in 1992 and the purpose of the law is to protect the reputation of regional foods and eliminate the unfair competition and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products, which may be of inferior quality or of different flavour.

"Isle of Man Manx Loaghtan is already recognised by its consumers and celebrity chefs, such as the Hairy Bikers, as having better taste and being a far healthier option than ordinary lamb.

"The award of a PDO means that isn't just opinion - it is recognised fact."

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