What does PGI status mean?

Since 1993, the European Union (EU) has provided a framework that gives legal protection for named regional food products against imitation across the EU.

This framework is important because it aims to protect and promote regional food products and rural economies that can become vulnerable as the EU expands and regional markets move to national and international supply chains. A Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is one of three European designations created to protect regional foods that have a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to that area. It acts like a Trade Mark or ‘Appellation Controllee’ and stops manufacturers from outside a region copying a regional product and selling it as that regional product.

Why did we apply for PGI status?

The CPA  applied for a PGI to protect the quality and reputation of the Cornish pasty and to stop people being misled by pasty makers who trade off the value of the name without producing a genuine product.

The industry generates £300 Million of trade per annum

sustains 2000 employees

Pays £15 million to local farmers

The pasty industry is very important to the Cornish economy. The largest manufacturing sector, pasty-makers generate approximately £300 million of trade per annum and employ over 2,000 people. Many of these jobs are year-round, full time, permanent positions. There are strong links between pasty production and local suppliers of the ingredients too – as much as £15m is paid to Cornish farmers for ingredients for pasties, equivalent to over 5% of the total farmgate value of Cornwall’s farm produce.

Pasties are sold in virtually every village and high street in the county and therefore support and uphold the local shops that are often the hub of communities and a lifeline for those without transport. Many bakers shops say their existence depends on the pasty. Pasty producers also sustain other local service industries such as engineering and transport. The PGI therefore protects consumers in enabling them to distinguish a genuine Cornish pasty, whilst helping to ensure the sustainability of a vital Cornish industry.


What is a PGI?

PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication. It’s a European Union framework that gives legal protection to the name Cornish Pasty and stops inferior products being passed off as genuine Cornish pasties.

What are the characteristics of a genuine Cornish pasty?

A genuine Cornish pasty must only contain:

  • Roughly diced or minced beef
  • Sliced or diced potato
  • Swede (turnip)
  • Onion
  • Seasoning to taste (mainly salt & pepper)

The ingredients must be uncooked when the pasty is assembled

The pastry must be savoury and can be shortcrust, puff or rough puff and must hold all ingredients through cooking and handling without cracking or breaking.

The pasty must be crimped into a D shape, with the crimp towards one side.

What does the PGI status mean for Cornish pasty makers?

PGI status marks Cornish pasties out as a quality product that the customer can rely on to meet the specified method of making laid down by law. When people see the PGI logo on a Cornish pasty, they know they’re getting the real thing.

Can I buy genuine Cornish pasties outside of Cornwall?

Definitely! Every day thousands of Cornish pasties are sent all over Britain and beyond, to be sold in shops, supermarkets, cafes, pubs and concessions. Sometimes these are baked and packaged in Cornwall and sometimes they are prepared in Cornwall then freshly baked at their final destination. As long as the pasty is made in Cornwall, by an approved Cornish pasty producer, you can enjoy it wherever you are.

How is the industry regulated?

Any product sold using the protected Cornish pasty name needs to be verified. Products and production methods are therefore audited by an approved external body. After successfully passing this audit, a producer can use the protected name. All producers are re-audited periodically to ensure they are still producing genuine Cornish pasties in accordance with the PGI specification.

Do I need to be a member of the CPA to produce Cornish pasties?

No you don’t. You can be audited by one of the approved bodies independently. However, the CPA membership fee includes the audit fee, which equates to a significantly reduced audit fee for Cornwall’s many smaller producers.

Of course, as a CPA member, you have access to all the other benefits of being part of the Cornish pasty family of producers.

How do I know if I’ve bought a genuine Cornish pasty?

Look for the PGI logo in the shop, on the labelling, or on the packaging. All genuine Cornish pasties should bear this, along with a number beginning with the letters CP that enables the CPA to identify the producer. Pasties made by CPA members may also carry the CPA’s certification mark. If in doubt, ask where the pasties came from and you can always check it out with us.

I sell Cornish pasties but don’t make my own – what do I need to know?

Wherever Cornish pasties are sold, it’s important for the name to be used in accordance with the guidelines, not only to stay legal but to make sure your customers know that they are getting the genuine product.  The CPA has a Recognised Retailer scheme that gives you access to all the help and materials you need, along with the chance to get involved.

What about Brexit?

Although the PGI is part of an EU scheme, the protection will remain in place in the rest of the EU after the UK leaves and will be replicated within the UK to ensure the Cornish pasty retains its protection.

Who should I go to for advice?

We’re here to help with as much as possible. We deal with calls, letters and emails from all over the world asking about Cornish pasties. We can point you in the direction of other sources of information and answer most questions about pasties – apart from – who makes the best one!!

Phone: 01872 865101

Email: info@cornishpastyassociation.co.uk

Write: Cornish Pasty Association
c/o Cornwall Food & Drink Ltd
Chapel View Farm, Coombe Lane, Bissoe, Truro TR4 8RE

The Cornish Pasty Association is a Community Interest Company, Registered in England and Wales, No 07847774. Copyright © 2020 Cornish Pasty Association. All rights reserved.

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