The famed Cambodian pepper has been granted protective status by the EU. The spice joins the prestigious ranks of champagne and other beloved delicacies that have received the rare honor.
The EU announced the decision on Wednesday, the first time Brussels has ever bestowed its "Protected Geographical Indication" status upon a product from Cambodia.
"Mrech Kampot [Kampot pepper] will benefit from a very high level of protection on the EU market," the EU said in a statement. The pepper was officially given the recognition on February 18.
The exclusive status is designed to protect popular products from cheap imitations that might flood the market. The Kampot pepper, a popular spice used by chefs around the world, is "easily faked," Ngoun Lay, president of the Kampot Pepper Promotion Association, told AFP news agency.
Other products that have been granted the status include French champagne, Cornish pasties, Gorgonzola cheese and Darjeeling tea.
The Kampot pepper's popularity first spread during the French colonization of Cambodia. However, it's popularity was severely diminished following the rise of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Since then, however, the Kampot pepper industry has regained its traction, and the spice has become a staple in restaurant kitchens across the globe.
blc/kms (AFP, AP)