We'll sip to that! You officially can't call it Rooibos if it wasn't made in SA

What this means, is that no manufacturer which has sourced their 'Rooibos' tea outside of designated local municipalities of the Western and Northern Cape cannot claim that tea as Rooibos.

FILE: In a world-first for African food, the European Commission has approved the registration of the designation ‘Rooibos/Red Bush’ in its register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications. Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - France has champagne, Ireland has Irish whiskey and now, South Africa officially has Rooibos to call uniquely its own.

In a world-first for African food, the European Commission has approved the registration of the designation ‘Rooibos/Red Bush’ in its register of protected designations of origin and protected geographical indications.

What this means is that no manufacturer, which has sourced their 'Rooibos' tea outside of designated local municipalities of the Western and Northern Cape cannot claim that tea as Rooibos. The same way alcohol similar to champagne that has not been sourced from Champagne in France cannot be called champagne.

The recognition of the products’ origin empowers consumers to distinguish quality products and trust that they are enjoying authentic quality products linked to the region of origin, knowledge and know-how of its producers.

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The South African Rooibos Council, the Western Cape government and the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa have hailed this as a plus for the local food economy.

“Rooibos is one of the most iconic products of the Western Cape and its inclusion in the PDO register will signal its unique quality to consumers, not only in Europe but all over the world. We expect that this will lead to an increase in demand by discerning consumers with the benefits working their way back to farms in the designated production area," said Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Dr Ivan Meyer.

“We have been working with the Rooibos Industry since the 1990’s to prevent the name ‘Rooibos’ from being misused by others. The inclusion of Rooibos/Red Bush in the register recognises the fact that it can only be produced in parts of the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces. In this way, our heritage is safeguarded for posterity and will benefit the producers in our region," added Dr Mogale Sebopetsa, head of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.

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