They say a "new potato" should be:
'A first or second early as defined by the British Potato Variety Database or the European cultivated Potato Database.
Harvested with an immature thin or scraping skin
Destined for retail sale without storage notwithstanding travelling time for imported crops or the short-term holding of stock to meet demand.
The consumer would be told that New potatoes are specially grown and harvested early for a sweeter taste, usually with a thin skin that comes off in the wash or you can scrape off with the finger nail.'
Having eaten more than my share of real new potatoes for more than 60 years, I feel qualified to say something.
Over the years and since supermarkets have largely taken over the nation's retailing of potatoes, the new potato has become any small potato that is washed and ready to boil. Most of these are "set-skin" potatoes; the plants have been killed off with a herbicide and the tubers left to mature for maybe 3 weeks so that the skins are "set" and will not rub off easily when passed over a grader. These are often stored for many weeks before they arrive on the retailers shelf. Others could be small potatoes graded out from set-skin maincrop harvests. These all look great in punnet. A few enlightened supermarkets have realised the market potential of loose-skin, new potatoes, rushed to market and labelled "newly harvested" or similar. These must sell well as they do come near to the subtle taste of an immature potato dug from the garden and cooked the same day. The down-side of these is that they are "dirty" and need the earth rinsed off. I am told that consumers don't like dirty potatoes and they don't like the look of the untidy, scaly loose-skins! I say, "grow up". These people deserve old, new potatoes.
The suggested Standard says a "new potato" should be of a variety classed as a first or second early. This classification is only based on whether the plant forms a useful crop of small potatoes within 8, 9 or 10 weeks from planting. All avid potato gardeners know that the classification does not matter and that immature tubers harvested at say 12 or more weeks from a maincrop variety can taste as good as any new potato.
I really can't see anything changing as a result of the "new-potato" standard. Supermarkets are very unlikely to stop calling a set-skin small potato, grown in UK or in Israel anything but a new potato, no matter how long it has been stored.
Let's hope that more customers can be educated to the joys of really freshly dug, immature tubers, covered in muck and briefly rinsed and boiled/steamed/microwaved until just tender. Boiling can take as little as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes. Maybe these should be labelled "Scrapers" or "loose skin" or "new, new potatoes" to distinguish from the boring old "new potato".
And while I am at it, we need evidence that really fresh, loose-skin spuds do have a special taste that make them worth searching for, and paying more for. Blind taste tests with set-skin controls are what I am talking about. Any hungry volunteers?