A mouth-watering move to award the Cornish pasty a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) has put the snack in the same league as Feta cheese and Neapolitan pizza. From now on, it will be possible for food purveyors to call pasties ‘Cornish’ only if they have been prepared in the UK county of Cornwall.
Keen to protect the ‘Cornish pasty’ descriptor from being used by purveyors outside the county, the Cornish Pasty Association applied for a European PGI in 2002. As a result of a European Commission (EC) decision to rubber-stamp the bid, Cornwall is likely to see an increase of revenue from food producers who are keen to keep their products authentic. While the PGI stipulates the use of specific ingredients and regulates the visual appearance of the final product, the baking can be done anywhere –as long as the preparation has been carried out in Cornwall.
David Rodda, spokesman for the Cornish Pasty Association and Cornwall Development Company, said: ‘Receiving protected status for the Cornish pasty is good news for consumers, and for the rural economy. By protecting our regional food heritage, we are protecting local jobs. Thousands of people in Cornwall are involved in the pasty industry – from farmers to producers – and it’s important that the product’s quality is protected for future generations.’
Association chairman Alan Adler criticised the UK’s poor support for regional foodstuffs, which had forced the group to apply to Europe. ‘We lag far behind other European countries, such as France and Italy, that have hundreds of food products protected,’ he said, ‘and it’s important that we value our foods just as much. [The PGI] does not stop other producers from making other type of pasties – but they won’t be able to sell them as “Cornish”.’
In February 2010, NewLegal Review reported that the production of Neapolitan pizza must follow a strict set of guidelines to be considered authentic. As outlined in the terms of the Cornish pasty PGI, a genuine article must have:
• a distinctive ‘D’ shape, crimped on one side – never on top – that holds together during the slow-bake cooking stage without cracking or splitting;
• a chunky filling made up of minced or roughly cut beef that makes up no less than 12.5% of the finished product;
• chunks of swede, potato and onion, with a light seasoning;
• a golden pastry colour, created with a milk or egg glaze;
• no artificial flavourings or additives whatsoever.
Cornish pasty makers argue that any other recipe is flaky.
Geographical Indication for the humble baked snack could work wonders for Cornwall’s turnover