Northern Foods appears to have exhausted all legal avenues in its challenge to the government-backed application for protected name status for Melton Mowbray pork pies.
Last month, the Court of Appeal took just three days to reject Northern’s request to appeal against a decision by the High Court in December supporting the controversial application.
This leaves Northern with few options, claimed Matthew Talbot, a solicitor for the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association (MMPPA). “Its only legal recourse now is an oral hearing before a judge. But in my view, Northern has exhausted all remedies through the English Courts. Its challenge is dead in the water. It could pursue the case through the European Court of Justice, but not until the protected status is granted.”
Northern Foods, which will lose the right to label pies made at factories in Trowbridge and Market Drayton as Melton Mowbray if the application is successful, said it was “exploring all legal options” as Food Manufacture went to press.
MMPPA chairman Matthew O’Callaghan said he expected the European Commission to decide whether to support the application by May. Other European states would then have six months to lodge objections to an approval, with formal protection granted six months after that. There would then be a period of grace lasting anything between six months and five years before companies making Melton Mowbray pies outside the region would have to rebadge their pies.