Brexit: ‘knock off’ protected food status threat

By James Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Brexit has put Cornish pasties, clotted cream and Staffordshire cheese at risk
Brexit has put Cornish pasties, clotted cream and Staffordshire cheese at risk

Related tags: United kingdom

Markets could be swarmed with “knock-offs” of classic regional British foods such as Cornish pasties and clotted cream thanks to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, according to market analyst Mlex.

Under EU law, geographical food names – including traditional Welsh cider and Stornoway black pudding – can’t be sold by foreign producers that have no link to the corresponding region.

However, now the UK has decided to leave the EU, the protected status of geographical food names ­– that are worth about €1bn (£831M) in sales – could be lost, claimed Mlex.

Mlex warned that, without the EU to enforce geographical indicators on food products, manufacturers from outside the UK could start manufacturing goods such as Staffordshire cheese or Cornish clotted cream without the product having to be made in the area.

Protect the rights

Any agreements to protect the rights of geographical food names are granted under EU law, said Rowan Freeland of law firm Simmons & Simmons.

The UK’s exit from the EU meant “that law will no longer be applicable in the UK”, ​Freeland said.  

On April 21, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Protected statuses enjoyed across Europe by our unique products, such as Gloucester Old Spot pork, will be lost.”

‘Struggle to negotiate’

Mlex said: “Anti-Brexit campaigners have said the UK would struggle to negotiate beneficial deals on its own, without the clout of 27 countries behind it.”

It also claimed the UK would be turning its back on a system that “works well and makes the most of the combined negotiating power of 28 countries and their world­-famous foods”.

However, Mlex said that the UK could be in a better position to negotiate the protection of geographical identity of its products outside of the EU, where it wouldn’t have to fight for “elbow room” ​with “the French, Italians and Greeks pushing for numerous cheeses to be protected”.

Geographically indicated UK food

  • Bakewell tart
  • Branston pickle
  • Cornish pasty
  • Cornish clotted cream
  • Double Gloucester
  • Jersey Royal potato
  • Kendal mint cake
  • Staffordshire cheese
  • Stornoway black pudding
  • Yorkshire pudding

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1 comment

Mixed messages - scaremongering?

Posted by Babs,

This post is confusing PDO - Protected Designation of Origin with PGI - Protected Geographical origin, which will both be protected until we have completed the withdrawal from Europe and beyond if adopted into UK Law. TSG - Traditional Speciality Guaranteed on the other hand, is not protected in law in the same way and may often include the name of a place and is a marketing tool for quality agricultural and other products which may contain the name of a place. Some listed items are none of the above, some have PDO and some PGI.

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