Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PGI?

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 product.

The Cornish pasty was awarded PGI status in 2011 which means that only Cornish pasties made in Cornwall and following the traditional recipe can legally be called and sold as ‘Cornish pasties’.

What are the characteristics of a genuine Cornish pasty?

A genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive ‘D’ shape and the pastry edges are crimped to one side of the pasty. This is distinctive to and different from a simple pinched seal across the top of the pasty.  The filling for the pasty is made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede, potato and onion with a light seasoning.  The pastry casing is golden in colour, savoury, glazed with components of milk, egg  or both and robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking.  The whole pasty is slow-baked to ensure that flavours from the raw ingredients are maximised.  No artificial flavourings or additives must be used. And, perhaps most importantly, if made for a commercial purpose, it must be made in Cornwall.

What does the PGI status mean for Cornish pasty makers?

Since the regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, Cornish pasty makers who do not meet the requirements of the registered specification and are not eligible to make use of the transitional arrangements, must take action immediately to ensure that their products will no longer carry the protected name.

How will the industry be regulated?

Trading Standards will be visiting pasty producers who label their products as Cornish pasties to establish whether the pasties are made according to the requirements of the registered specification. Producers that do not comply with regulation will either be required to adjust the way they produce Cornish pasties or to stop trading their products as Cornish pasties.

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

Membership of the CPA is not mandatory to produce Cornish pasties but a visit from Trading Standards is (see above). CPA members will be able to access information and guidance for this process, as well as benefit from additional marketing materials and trade opportunities. A full list of benefits and an application form can be found here.

How do consumers know if they have bought a genuine Cornish pasty?

PGI approved products will carry an official PGI symbol on pack. Bakeries who sell genuine Cornish pasties will show the PGI logo in their stores too.

All Cornish pasty producers that wish to label and sell pasties as Cornish pasties will be required to undergo a product authentication inspection. Inspections will be carried out annually by Trading Standards to ensure the Cornish pasties are genuine.

Consumers should look for the Cornish Pasty Association’s logo as this is being used by the members to demonstrate that their product specification complies with the PGI standards and is the genuine article.

Who should I go to for advice on this issue?

Please call Cornwall Food & Drink on 01872 865101 or email info@cornishpastyassociation.co.uk