Lea & Perrins was locked in talks with Worcester MP Michael Foster as Food Manufacture went to press, exploring whether it had a case to apply for European Union (EU) protection for its Worcestershire sauce name.
External affairs manager Gary Hayes said: "We're still talking to a lawyer about EU protected geographical indication (PGI) status, but we're less interested in geography really than in compositional standards -- to stop people putting the name Worcestershire sauce on any old products."
The government said that while PGI status was unlikely, Worcestershire sauce may be a candidate for a Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) designation, which would restrict the use of the name to products made to a particular recipe using certain processes.
The Lea & Perrins move follows the government's recent decision to back a PGI application from the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association. If that is successful, only pies produced within a narrowly defined region and to strict recipes will have the right to be called Melton Mowbray.
The proposed region would include Northern Foods' Pork Farms plant in Nottingham, but exclude its plant in Trowbridge, which has made Melton Mowbray pies for more than 100 years. Northern Foods, which has consistently claimed that Melton Mowbray is just a generic name for a premium pork pie, said that it was taking legal advice.