Rooibos, a drink as popular as tea or coffee in South Africa, has joined champagne, roquefort and the Greek olive from Kalamata on the list of protected designations of origin (PDO). PDOs, established by the European Union (EU), aim to preserve the authenticity of products from a specific geographical area.
The first use of rooibos (“red bush” in Afrikaans) is attributed to the Khoisan people in the 18th century.e century. Rich in antioxidants and without theine, the drink has medicinal properties recognized elsewhere in the world.
While the application for an appellation was launched ten years ago, it is a “Victory” for the industry, welcomed to AFP, Wednesday, June 9, Nicie Vorster, director of the South African Council of rooibos, who hopes for commercial benefits.
Only rooibos leaves grown in the Western Cape province and part of the North Cape (southwest), which once infused give this drink its characteristic red color, can now be sold under this name in the EU. and several other countries, according to a European regulation published at the end of May.
South Africa produces around 15,000 tonnes of rooibos per year, mostly in the rocky Cederberg mountain range. The country exports around half of its bulk production to Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The South African Rooibos Council is now aiming for recognition by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to extend the protection of “red tea” to the global market.