Herstmonceux business joins quest for better protection for traditional British products

Robin Tuppen and Catherine Bearder at Thomas Smith's Trug Shop
Robin Tuppen and Catherine Bearder at Thomas Smith's Trug Shop

A Herstmonceux business which makes traditional British products is joining the quest to get better protection for traditional products to help stamp out fakes.

Robin Tuppen, who owns Thomas Smith’s Trug Shop in Magham Down, has been making the Sussex Trug for more than 30 years.

He has welcomed the European Commission’s public consultation on possibly extending a geographic indication, which identifies goods as originating from a certain country or locality which is integral to its authenticity, and shows the consumer it is a genuine product. At the moment it is only foods and drinks which have the protection such as Bordeaux wine, Parma ham, Cornish Pasties and Wensleydale Cheese.

But the commission has issued a green paper on extending it to non-argicultural products.

The commission is looking for contributions to the consultation and South East MEP Catherine Bearder is encouraging businesses and producers to contribute their views and show why they deserve the protection for their products.

Mr Tuppen is contributing his views to the consultation and Ms Bearder visited the shop last week to hear how important the protection would be for Sussex Trugs.

Mr Tuppen, owner of the shop, said: “I hope that products like our trugs will be able to get the same kind of protection that Champagne has. There are only a few traditional trug makers left and we are being undercut by cheap Chinese imitations passing themselves off as Sussex Trugs. They end up breaking within 12 months whereas ours can last up to 60 years. Trug making and other traditional industries should be protected to ensure that we can continue to train the next generation.”

Ms Bearder said: “It was fantastic to see these trugs being made and the traditional methods still being used today. These are exactly the type of product that we should be protecting. It’s wrong that cheap imitations made in China can be sold as traditional Sussex trugs. I look forward to welcoming Robin and several other producers of great traditional British products in Brussels so that they can take their message straight to the European Commission.”

To find out more visit: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/consultations/2014/geo-indications-non-agri/index_en.htm