Cornwall’s two most iconic foods – Cornish pasties and Cornish clotted cream –- made their mark at a major gathering in Westminster attended by hundreds of MPs and government officials.
The event, a showcase for the 80 or so protected food names from the UK, included products from the length and breadth of the kingdom, representing some of the finest regional foods. All are part of the EU’s Protected Food Names schemes, in common with other well-known foods from other parts of Europe such as Champagne and Parma Ham.
On the day, representatives travelled from as far away as Stornaway in the Outer Hebrides, Shetland and Northern Ireland. Cornwall was one of the few counties showcasing more than one product, reflecting the importance of the scheme to the local economy. Our Association was represented by Elaine Ead of the Chough Bakery in Padstow, while Jo Hartop from Rodda’s represented Cornish clotted cream. Oyster merchant, Chris Ranger, also travelled to London to represent Cornwall’s less well known but equally distinctive protected name, Fal oysters.
Protected status helps to ensure that specific foods cannot be copied and is invaluable in gaining them recognition as premium products. In a county such as Cornwall, where food tourism brings millions of pounds in income and is an important factor in attracting visitors outside of the main holiday season, this recognition of distinctiveness helps to put our local area on the map.
Discussions are currently ongoing as to the future of this protection after Brexit as the issue has given rise to a great deal of concern and publicity, both in the UK and abroad. George Eustice, MP for Camborne and Redruth and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, reassured food producers with his strong commitment to the scheme. He said afterwards, “It was great to see Rodda’s Clotted Cream, the Cornish pasty and Cornish oysters represented at the event organised by the UK Protected Food Names Association. I am clear that these foods will retain their protected status when we leave the EU.”
Jo Hartop, Head of Brand Marketing from Rodda’s, said, “Rodda’s was instrumental in securing the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for Cornish Clotted Cream in 1998. It took years of careful negotiation and it’s something we feel incredibly passionate about – safeguarding our regional foods for generations to come. Today was a pivotal event for Cornish protected foods, and George Eustice’s commitment is significant.”
Elaine Ead, board member of the Cornish Pasty Association, added, “The day was a great opportunity to get the message across and was a real success. I met numerous MPs and senior government researchers who were very interested in and supportive of the Protected Food Names Scheme. Cornish pasty producers fought for 8 years to obtain Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) and it would be an enormous backward step to lose it.”