The Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) is a step closer to attaining PGI status for Cornish pasties after DEFRA confirmed that it is backing its application and will be sending it to the European Commission for final approval.
DEFRA’s ministerial support is a significant landmark in the CPA’s application process and should secure the Association’s bid to allow only pasty makers that make Cornish pasties in Cornwall in a traditional manner and to a traditional recipe, to use the term ‘Cornish Pasty’ in the branding and marketing of their products. The Association exists to protect the quality and the reputation of the Cornish pasty and to stop consumers being misled by pasty makers who trade off the value of the name without producing a genuine product.
Angie Coombs of the CPA Committee believes that protection of regional food products like the Cornish pasty is important both for consumers and the rural economies and explains; “The importance of the Cornish pasty industry to the wider Cornish economy cannot be stressed enough. Over 86 million Cornish pasties are collectively produced by the CPA members in Cornwall every year. All the members source a large percentage of ingredients locally and are important providers of year-round employment. It is estimated that 13,000 people are directly or indirectly benefiting from the trade of the CPA members.
“Consumer demand is growing for Cornish pasties. Partly due to the number of retail pasty outlets nationwide and also overseas, but also because of increased interest from the supermarkets who have changed their buying practises to allow for more regionalism. This application is a genuine attempt to protect the consumer and encourage investment in local economies. We believe it is not unreasonable to ask companies to honestly label their products so that the consumer is guaranteed a level of quality, recipe and origin when they purchase them.”
A genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive ‘D’ shape and is crimped on one side, never on top. The texture of the filing is chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning. The pastry casing is golden in colour, savoury, glazed with milk or egg and robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking. The whole pasty is slow-baked and no flavourings or additives must be used. It must also be made in Cornwall.
PGI is one of three European designations to protect regional foods that have a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to that area. It acts like a Trade Mark and stops manufacturers from outside of a region copying a regional product and selling it as that regional product.
The ministerial decision to approve the CPA’s PGI application will now see the application being submitted to the European Commission for final examination.
Issue date: 25th July 2008
NOTE TO EDITORS:
An omnibus survey conducted on September 2007 with over 1,000 participants found that:
The majority of participants agreed with the Cornish Pasty Association’s PGI application, with considerable support (79%) of the proposal to protect the term ‘Cornish Pasty’.
It was agreed by over half of those interviewed (62%) that pasties described as Cornish but that are not actually Cornish are deceiving consumers about their origin.
64% of all participants stated that if they saw a food product on sale in the supermarket described as being Cornish, they would expect it to be made in Cornwall.
More information about the CPA, its members and the history of the Cornish Pasty is available at www.thecornishpastyassociation.co.uk