TRADITIONAL craft products like Laguiole knives will be protected by a quality label linked to their area, says the minister for trades.
The announcement has pleased locals, who took down their town’s name signs in a symbolic gesture earlier this year after they said a Paris court “stole” it from them by allowing made-in-China products to be called “Laguiole”.
“You can count on my determination to extend IGPs [Indication Géographique Protégée – a European quality label for local specialities] to manufactured products,” said Sylvia Pinel said on a visit to Laguiole in the Aveyron. She met with local artisans and councillors in the village of 1,300 inhabitants and was presented with a set of knives.
At European level the IGP is currently only recognised for food and wine, however it is understood Ms Pinel will in a first stage aim to bring in a version for craft products with legal force in France while lobbying for changes to the Europe-wide rules.
This may be included in the next consumer law, which will be debated in early 2013.
“Laguiole” knives – high-quality hunting (and other) knives with a slim curved blade and a bee or fly motif on the handle - are traditionally made in Laguiole and the surrounding area, as well as in Thiers to the north-east.
However ones in the same style, using the name, are made world-wide, though said to usually be of lesser quality.
Laguiole mayor Vincent Alazard said an IGP would bolster the legitimacy of their knives and make sure consumers could tell the difference.
The commune is to appeal against the decision by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris to allow business man Gilbert Szjaner to use its name on imported products ranging from knives to barbecues and cigarette lighters.
Photo: www.layole.com Wikimedia Commons