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?
The regulation protects the authenticity of genuine Cornish pasties. Since the regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, pasty makers who do not meet the requirements of the registered specification may no longer use the protected name.
How is industry regulated?
All pasty producers who wish to label their products as Cornish pasties are verified by one of the official verification bodies to ensure that the pasties are made according to the requirements of the registered specification. Those who have been successfully verified are awarded certification, which permits them to use the protected name and the official EU PGI logo. Producers who 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 use the protected name but verification is (see above). CPA members are able to access information and guidance on this process and the verification fee is included in the CPA’s membership fee (which is based on the number of pasties the member produces). Members also 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?
Packaged PGI approved products will carry an official PGI symbol on pack. Bakeries that sell genuine Cornish pasties will show the PGI logo in their stores too.
Many members also use the Cornish Pasty Association’s logo to demonstrate that their product specification complies with the PGI standards and is the genuine article.
Who should I go to for advice?
Anyone – people looking for a genuine Cornish pasty or with questions about a particular product, as well as pasty-makers, retailers and wholesalers can call Cornwall Food & Drink on 01872 865101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org