Cornish pasties join protected list

Cornish pasties today joined a growing list of Europe's privileged foods whose names are protected from imitation.

From now on only pasties made in Cornwall can claim to be "Cornish pasties" - the latest addition to more than 1,000 foodstuffs around Europe granted the EU status of Protected Geographical Indication.

The decision by the European Commission ends a nine-year fight for special recognition, and ranks Cornish pasties alongside regional favourites such as Arbroath Smokies, Cornish clotted cream and Melton Mowbray pork pies.

Some renowned foods however do not make the grade - Yorkshire pudding is deemed too much of a generic term to restrict the name to its manufacture in one particular part of the country.

Non-Cornish makers of "Cornish" pasties wish the same decision had been made about their product, which will now have to drop the word "Cornish" or be in breach of place-of-origin food rules introduced in 1992.

The rules affect certain cheeses, hams, meats, fruits and vegetables, as well as olive oils, dairy products, beers, bakery products, spices and coffee, whose place-related names are deemed to denote an important Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

The European Commission said: "A successful PDO or PGI with good market recognition can create value, increase demand, avoid use of cheap raw material, secure local jobs and so contribute to agricultural and rural economy. The schemes help producers to obtain a premium price for quality products produced according to tradition in specified places."

Conservative MEP for the South West Julie Girling said: "It's a great day for Cornwall and a great day for Cornish pasties.

"Local food producers have been fighting for this day for nine years and now at least their products have the protection they deserve."

She added: "Now Cornish pasties are where they deserve to be - on a par with Champagne and Parma ham."

The EU's idea of an authentic pasty from Cornwall is one in the traditional shape, crimped on one side. The contents are uncooked minced or chunks of beef, swede, potato, and onion "with a light seasoning".


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