CLA launches campaign for more regional foods to be recognised

UK - The CLA takes regionally distinctive food campaign to the House of Commons.
calendar icon 13 July 2005
clock icon 5 minute read
CLA launches campaign for more regional foods to be recognised - UK - The CLA takes regionally distinctive food campaign to the House of Commons.

European Union countries are accustomed to protecting the names of their finest fare, (for example Roquefort cheese from France, prosciutto ham from Italy and Bremer beer from Germany) but the UK lags behind in taking advantage of safeguarding the names of its best produce. "We should celebrate and champion our regional food in the same way that France, Italy and other European countries recognise and protect their distinctive products and produce," says Mark Hudson, President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

To kick start the CLA's campaign to encourage more regionally and locally produced foods to be safeguarded under EU rules, Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP whose constituency includes Melton Mowbray, home of the renowned Melton Mowbary Pork Pie, has tabled a parliamentary motion calling on the Government to actively engage with the food industry to raise awareness of this opportunity to protect regionally distinctive food and to promote regionally distinctive British food in Europe. Already, MPs from all parties have signed the motion to indicate their support.

The EU can register food and drink as having a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status*. For example, there is an application currently under consideration on Melton Mowbray pork pies. If successful only pies made within a certain area will be allowed to bear the famous name.

Food facts:

  • Italy is the member state most passionate about its regional food and has 148 of the designations that prevent other EU producers from claiming to make, for example traditional Modena balsamic vinegar.
  • France is also prolific in ensuring its distinctive food is not imitated by pirate producers. The EU has registered 42 French fromages, including Camembert de Normandie, but only 11 UK cheeses, including Stilton.
  • There are 50 protected types of French fresh meat and offal but only 7 such products are safeguarded in the UK.
  • In total, the UK has won registered status for only 29 of our distinctive foods - Italy, France, Portugal and Spain have registered 475 between them.
  • Protected UK food includes Whitstable oysters (PGI), Cornish Clotted Cream (PDO), Jersey Royal Potatoes (PDO) and Newcastle Brown ale (PGI).

Mark Hudson said, "The UK has some of the finest quality food in the world but we need to be much smarter about safeguarding the names of these foods and in promoting them to UK consumers, visitors to this country and to the rest of Europe. Not enough food producers are aware that they can apply to have the name of their wonderful sausages, smoked fish or traditional cakes secured in this way - helping them to get across to the consumer just what it is that makes their product great.

"If organisations such as the CLA and regional food groups with the support of the Government can raise awareness and raise the level of successful applications, then perhaps by the time we welcome overseas visitors to the 2012 Olympics no one will dare cast doubt on the quality of UK food."

Alan Duncan who is also the local MP for this year's The CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire will be attending the Game Fair's Totally Food Show on Saturday 23 July to promote awareness of the CLA's campaign.

He said: "I am fully behind the CLA's campaign in support of regionally and locally produced food. I really believe that Britain produces some of the world's best food and our regional produce is as distinctive and as high quality as any in the rest of the world. Other countries in Europe have taken steps to protect and encourage the production of regional foods, I therefore believe that it is important that British producers enjoy the same advantages as our European competitors. Regionally distinctive food has a huge role to play in encouraging the development of high quality, high value added production in rural areas."

Source: Country Land & Business Association (CLA) - 12th July 2005

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