South Africa has registered lamb meat from the arid central Karoo region for protection under Geographical Indication status.
Meat cuts from young sheep produced under free-range conditions will be able to claim the name Karoo Lamb, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said in the Government Gazette on Friday.
The meat has very specific aromatic and sensory attributes, which can be directly attributed to the herbaceous plants that grow naturally in the area.
The registration will give Karoo Lamb the same protection as products such as Parma ham and Champagne that are produced in a specific geographical area.
This is according to Charles Erasmus, executive manager at the Karoo Lamb Consortium, a non-profit organization that worked to collect empirical evidence and scientific confirmation of the link between the meat and the Karoo region.
Ultimately, it will be possible to market and sell Karoo Lamb at a premium to other lamb meat products.
The next step is for South Africa’s government to submit the registration for protection in the European Union, said Johann Kirsten, director of the Stellenbosch-based Bureau for Economic Research.
“This is an amazing day for South Africa,” Kirsten, who spearheaded the process on behalf of the industry for more than a decade, said by phone.