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Application to register the name 'Stornoway Black Pudding' as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under the EU protected food name scheme



COUNCIL REGULATION ( EC) No 510/2006 on protected geographical indications and protected designations of origin

"Stornoway Black Pudding"

EC No:

PDO ( ) PGI (v)

This summary sets out the main elements of the product specification for information purposes.

1 Responsible department in the Member State

EU Food Policy Team - Food and Policy Unit
Area 6c
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
United Kingdom

Tel: +44207 238 6075
Fax: +44207 238 5728
Email: protectedfoodnames@defra.gsi.gov.uk

2 Group

Name: Stornoway Black Pudding Producers' Association

Contact: Claire Macleod, Group Secretary

Address: c/o Charles Macleod Limited

Ropework Park
Matheson Rd
Isle of Lewis HS1 2LB

Tel: 01851 702445 or 07881 935685
Fax: 01851 704445
E-mail: clairebarley@live.com
Composition: Producers/processors ( X ) Other ( )

3 Type of product

Class 1.2 Meat Products (cooked, salted, smoked)

4 Specification

(summary of requirements under Article 4(2) of Regulation ( EC) No 510/2006)

4.1 Name: "Stornoway Black Pudding"

4.2 Description: Stornoway Black Puddings are a black pudding unique to Stornoway, the capital of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. They have a rich, deep reddish-brown to deep brown colour when raw, varying according to individual local recipes.

While, according to tradition and heritage, there is some individual variation in the recipes used, the percentages of ingredients used in a Stornoway Black Pudding must fall within the following ranges:

  • Beef suet - minimum 37% to a maximum of 50%
  • Oatmeal - minimum 16% to a maximum of 20%
  • Onion - minimum 15% to a maximum of 18%
  • Sheep or cow or pig's blood - minimum 12% to a maximum of 26%
  • Water - where dried blood is used
  • Salt - minimum 0.6% to a maximum of 2%
  • Pepper - minimum 0.4% to a maximum of 2%

The sausage mixture is fed into synthetic skins. The skins are made from cellulose which is an organic compound produced for industrial use. Synthetic casings are used for the production of Stornoway Black Pudding, due to large volumes required for commercial manufacture; however, natural casings may also be used in small scale production and subject to availability of animal intestines (sheep, cow, pig).

No other seasonings are permitted and Stornoway Black Puddings must be free from artificial colours, flavours, bulking agents and preservatives.

In their original form, they are produced as '3 inch' or '4 inch' diameter (7.6 and 10.2 cm) cylindrical "sausage-shaped" puddings, varying in length from 18cm to 50cm and in weight from 0.5kg to 1.36kg, encased in skin. They may, however, be produced in other sizes and shapes to suit different customer requirements, e.g. a loop, or in slices.

They are moist and firm in texture, with discernable, yet small, fat particulates. The Scottish oatmeal used in Stornoway Black Puddings is responsible for its good, rough texture. Stornoway Black Puddings may be cooked in, or out of the skin, they maintain their shape well throughout the cooking process. Once cooked, they appear almost black and break apart very easily when cut, yet do not significantly crumble. The meaty flavour is moist, rich, full, savoury, well seasoned - but not spicy - with a non-greasy, pleasant mouth and clean after taste feel.

They are sold in a variety of sizes and weights through a range of outlets, including butchers' shops, supermarkets, delicatessens, hotels and restaurants, both on the Isle of Lewis and the Outer Hebrides and across the UK.

4.3 Geographical area:

The town of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis and the surrounding 'Stornoway Trust' area which includes the following parishes:

  1. New Tolsta
  2. North Tolsta
  3. Glen Tolsta
  4. Gress
  5. Coll
  6. Upper Coll
  7. Vatisker
  8. Back
  9. Tong
  10. Tong Allotments
  11. Aird of Tong
  12. Newmarket
  13. Newvalley
  14. Guershader
  15. Laxdale
  16. Laxdale Lane
  17. Laxdale & Goathill Road
  18. Coulregrein
  19. Maryhill
  20. Moor Cottages
  21. Marybank
  22. Sandwick
  23. East Street
  24. North Street
  25. Stewartfield
  26. Steinish
  27. Holm
  28. Branahuie
  29. Melbost
  30. Aignish
  31. Swordale
  32. Knock
  33. Garrabost Allotments
  34. New Garrabost
  35. Garrabost
  36. Lower Bayble
  37. Upper Bayble
  38. Shuilishader
  39. Sheshader
  40. Shuilishader Newlands
  41. Upper Aird
  42. Portvoller
  43. Portnaguran
  44. Broker
  45. Portnaguran Newlands

From the point named "Dun Othail" on the East coast of Lewis North of the town of Stornoway, situated North of Traigh Mhor "New Tolsta", thence in a Westerly direction to the summit of Beinn Mheadhonach and further South Westerly to Loch Mor Sandavat. Thence South Westerly crossing the A857 Stornoway - Barvas road to the North West foot of Ben Barvas, thence Westerly towards Loch nan Caorann. Thence South West towards Loch na Gainmhich. Then in a Southerly direction crossing the unclassified Pentland Road (previously known as B8010) towards the hill Druim Uksavat to Beinn Nan Surrag. Then thence in an Easterly direction crossing the A858 to Loch Beag na Craoibhe at the A859 Stornoway to Tarbert Road. From thence following the Leiravay River "Allt na Craoibhe" crossing the B897 as far as Tob Leiravay on the Eastern coast. All lands bounded by the above described boundary including the Eye Peninsula.

The Stornoway Trust is a Community Organisation that owns the town of Stornoway and a 28,000 hectare swathe of the Isle of Lewis. The Stornoway Trust was created in 1923 when the estate was gifted to the people by the owner of the land Lord Leverhulme. The Trust is administered by 10 democratically elected Trustees who are elected to serve a 6 year term.

4.4 Proof of origin: Each of the producers maintains full records of traceability. As raw materials arrive on the premises, the producers record details of the supplier, along with the date, quantity and batch numbers. On the day of manufacture, the puddings are given batch numbers which record the date and are linked to the raw ingredient batch numbers. These are then logged. Producers sell product direct to customers "over the counter" and may also sell to wholesale customers, or via mail order. In the latter cases, customer orders are maintained in an order book and all invoices and delivery notes contain details of the customer, destination, product and quantity. Batch number and use by date are detailed on the invoice and delivery note and/or on the pudding casing itself. All producers will use the PGI logo at point of sale, and where producers have branded product and are using Stornoway Black Pudding on the casing and other packaging, the PGI logo will also be used.

4.5 Method of production: The following ingredients only, must be used in the manufacture of Stornoway Black Puddings:

Beef suet, oatmeal, onion, blood, salt, pepper, water. While, according to tradition and heritage, there is some individual variation in the recipes used, the percentages of ingredients used in a Stornoway Black Pudding must fall within the following ranges:

  • Beef suet 37% to 50%
  • Oatmeal 16% to 20%
  • Onion 15% to 18%
  • Sheep, Cow or Pigs Blood 12% to 26%
  • Salt 0.6% to 2%
  • Pepper 0.4% to 2%

Many of the producers receive the beef suet in its raw form with all the unwanted connective tissue. The suet is prepared by scraping the suet from the connective tissue, cleaning it and then chopping/cutting into pieces of 15-20cm. The prepared suet is then cut into consistently sized fine pieces of approximately1-5 millimetres using a machine called a bowl cutter. This is a highly skilled process judged by eye and expertise of the butcher .

Pig, cow or sheep blood is used in the fresh, chilled, or dried state, the blood from only one type of animal is used for each batch. Blood is purchased from a meat wholesaler who source directly from the abattoirs where the blood is collected when the animal is killed. Where dried blood is used, water is added to rehydrate the blood; this method is used when large volumes of pudding are required as it is not possible to transport such volumes of liquid blood.

The dry ingredients are mixed first, either by hand, or machine before water is added and mixed. All ingredients are very carefully weighed throughout the process, to ensure consistency of product, which is a thick porridge-like consistency, which can still be stirred but with some effort. Some of the recipes vary from to require fine chopped ingredients, others require a coarser chop, which gives rise to the slight variations in visual appearance and texture depending on the producers individual recipe.

The mixture is then transferred to a sausage filler machine which feeds the mixture into the sausage casings. The sausages are filled by manually placing the sausage skin onto the machine nozzle. Regulating the flow of meat is also carried out manually. The sausage skins are synthetic skins which are made from cellulose which is an organic compound produced for industrial use . Due to the volumes of manufacturing it is not possible to utilise the traditional animal intestines for casings so synthetic cases have been used for approximately for the last 40 years, for commercial manufacturing. Although natural casings (from sheep, cows or pigs) may also be used in small scale production, subject to availability.

The ends are then either hand-tied with string, or clipped by machine.

The puddings are then boiled or steamed for up to 2.5 hours at temperatures between 86 oc - 70 oc. Once cooked, each pudding is hung individually on a rack, to cool gradually to an ambient temperature of 12 oc, this can take between 2.5 - 4 hours. They are then placed in a chiller and stored at a temperature of 2 oc.

Stornoway Black Puddings have a shelf-life of approximately one month. They are sold over the counter in the producers' own shops, in their skins, as full size puddings, three-quarter, half-size, in loops, or in slices. They are also packaged and shipped by post or courier, to individual and trade customers all over the UK.

4.6 Link:

The origin of the Stornoway Black Pudding.

Crofting, a form of tenant small holding unique in Scotland, has been the mainstay of island life on Lewis for hundreds of years. Only within the last 40 years or so have crofters taken other jobs outside the croft, and have become part-time crofters. Crofting is very much a subsistence economy, Stornoway crofters kept a small number of sheep and/or pigs and cows and had to ensure that every part of those animals was utilised to the full. When it came to killing the animal crofters shared the task and, in a time of no refrigeration, the meat with neighbours who in turn would return the favour at a later date, thus ensuring a meat supply during the long winter.

To make the "Marag Dubh" - the Scots Gaelic name for a black pudding; dubh meaning 'black', the animal would be killed and the blood collected and saved. The intestines would be removed and cleaned in the salt water of the sea. They would then be taken back to the croft, turned inside-out and placed in cold water in the sink, seawater and salt would added before leaving them covered for 24 hours. The intestines would be then rinsed in cold water and then hot. This lengthy process softened the lining of the stomach, allowing the crofters to scrape the intestines clean, leaving them beautifully white and clean. A full intestine would form the skin for at least five Marag Dubhs - the Deasainn (from the rumen), the Brog (or Boot), the Curachd an Righ (King's Crown) and two long puddings cut at the ileum and tied.

As there was no electricity, the puddings were placed in chests of oatmeal, to keep them dry and cool and to help them last as long as possible. Crofters could not afford to waste any meat, so they would eat the same food every day until it was finished. The puddings provided a rich source of iron and were a very important part of a crofter's diet and still remain so for the people of Stornoway.

The basic recipe for the Stornoway Black Puddings has remained unchanged over the years - they still contain only beef suet, oatmeal, onions, blood, salt and pepper, but the methods of production have had to change, as greater hygiene regulations have come into force and as demand for the puddings has increased. The Stornoway Black Pudding is no longer produced solely by individual crofters to feed their families, but is produced on a much larger scale for sale to islanders and customers - both individual and trade - on the mainland.

Animals are no longer killed on the croft, but in abattoirs. Crofters can kill on their own tenure for their own personal consumption and many still make the black pudding in the crofting kitchen. The Stornoway abattoir provides slaughtering services, but now operates only on a part-time, seasonal basis (mid August till end January), which is insufficient to meet the demand for blood and intestines. Butchers therefore rely on mainland abattoirs and suppliers of plastic pudding skins to meet their production needs.

The uniqueness of the Stornoway Black Pudding

The Black Pudding dates from antiquity. The earliest mention is in Homer's Odyssey possibly written in the mid 750's BC (Book 18 lines 43-45):

"Listen, you bold suitors! Here's what I tell you:
some goat's stomachs lie on the fire where we put them, bloated with fat and blood where we put them."

Black puddings arrived in Britain with the various wave of invaders which perhaps accounts for the variation between regions. The Stornoway black pudding is unique in that it uses only the following ingredients in order of quantity; beef suet, oatmeal, onion, blood, salt and pepper with the addition of water. They are free from artificial colours, flavours, bulking agents and preservatives

Unlike other regional black puddings, beef suet is a major constituent of Stornoway black puddings. Suet is the fat around the kidney and loins of cattle. It has a low melting point 45-50 degrees centigrade which means it is easy to use in the solid form when making puddings but will melt when steaming or boiling. Although almost flavourless suet enhances the flavour of added ingredients and also lightens the texture of puddings. In cold climates, such as the Hebrides, the high calorific value of suet makes it an ideal food in winter.

The type of oatmeal grown in Scotland provides a good rough texture for the Stornoway black pudding.

Most regional black pudding are made using blood from pigs. Stornoway Black Puddings however use sheep's, cow's or pig's blood, the blood being obtained from the local abattoir on the island. With legislative changes and the downgrading of the local abattoir to seasonal operation only, there is insufficient throughput of animals to provide a suitable source of fresh blood. Recipes have evolved to take account of these changes and butchers now source supplies of blood, including dried blood, from outside the area.

The above ingredients, when mixed, allow the pudding to maintain its shape throughout the cooking process, and after cooking break apart when cut rather than crumble. All the dry ingredients were traditionally measured by eye, and as 'handfuls' - again a highly skilled judgement. Given the shortage of intestines, plastic skins are now used in commercial production.

Reputation of the Stornoway Black Pudding

Some of the Stornoway butchers who form the Stornoway Black Pudding Producers' Association have been making and selling their puddings since 1931. The Stornoway Black Puddings have been sold by that name since that time. The butchers have co-operatively used the Stornoway Black Pudding name and have sought to maintain high standards in production and to retain the links back to Hebridean heritage. As a result the pudding has gathered an increasingly international reputation for its taste and quality and is now known as one of the top gourmet puddings in the UK. The product has made the transition of being traditionally known as staple "crofting dish" food to today being associated with being a world renowned delicacy. Veteran BBC broadcaster, Derek Cooper was, arguably, the first to bring the Stornoway Black Pudding to the attention of a mass media audience in the early 1990's via the press, and "The Food Programme". Early 1990's articles in publication such as Scotland on Sunday.

The Stornoway Black Pudding is intrinsically linked to the area's tourism, frequently purchased by visitors as a souvenir or 'taste of the islands'. There is world recognition of the brand and the link back to Stornoway as an area. Most of the guide books on Scotland mention the Marag Dubh in connection with Lewis. Several hundred entries for Google also mention the link. The Hebrides are experiencing a growth in visitor numbers and the tourist industry in the area has been boosted by the success of TV exposure via programmes such as Monty Hall's 'Great Hebridean Escape'. The pudding featured in the January 2010 edition of National Geographic and was an essential part of Visit Scotland's 2010 'Homecoming Campaign'.

There is also a strong diaspora of the population from the Western Isles that regularly holiday in the islands, known as "coming home". This group of ex-pats are large consumers of the Stornoway "Marag Dubh", always visiting their Stornoway butcher to procure several black puddings before returning "to the mainland" and distribute the puddings as gifts to their network of colleagues and friends. A further boost is expected in 2011 as part of the tourism campaign on Scotland's Islands as a destination of choice.

The celebrity chef Sue Lawrence, a former winner of the TV series Masterchef is a big fan of Stornoway Black Pudding, as are other chefs Rosemary Shrager, Nick Nairn and Lady Claire Macdonald. Royalty and politicians are not immune to its charms either, with both the Queen and Prince Philip purchasing supplies, along with Jack McConnell, former First Minister of Scotland, Brian Wilson former Labour MP and Department of Trade and Industry Energy Minister, Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland and Glenys Kinnock, Member of the European Parliament till 2009. Seamus MacInnes of Cafe Gandolfi in Glasgow was one of the first restaurateurs to actively promote the modern use of Stornoway Black Pudding in his restaurant as a contemporary signature dish, and is currently publishing a recipe book "The Stornoway Black Pudding Bible" which celebrates the contribution that the Stornoway product makes to the culinary world.

The website www.information-britain.co.uk says "Of all the blood puddings the world has to offer the Stornoway black pudding is definitely one of the finest. In fact, no sitting on the fence here; it is the finest."

4.7 Inspection body:

Name: Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, Consumer & Environmental Services Department - Mr Tom Joyce

Address: Sandwick Road, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2BW

Tel.: 01851 703773
Fax: 01851 705349
E-mail: enquiries@cne-siar.gov.uk

4.8 Labelling: