Grant British foods like the Dorset Knob protected status, say MPs

Save the Dorset Knob and Rutland Rippin! More staples of British regional cuisine deserve to be granted protected status, say MPs

  • MPs say some food items deserve same status as Stilton cheese or Cornish pasty
  • A group want to increase the number of protected products from 81 to 200
  • The items include the popular Rutland Rippin, a pastry filled with ham hock

Nothing says Cornwall more than a meaty Cornish pasty. And try getting a Frenchman to agree that sparkling wines from Essex are just as good as champagne from Champagne.

So now a group of MPs are calling for more of Britain’s regional foods to be granted the same protected geographical status already enjoyed by Melton Mowbray pork pies and Stilton cheese.

After launching a search for the ‘hidden treasures of the British food landscape’ – in a bid to increase the number of protected products from the current 81 to 200 by 2030 – early contenders include the Rutland Pippin, a pastry filled with ham hock, sausage meat and apple puree; and the Dorset Knob, a savoury biscuit.

The labelling scheme is intended to guarantee quality and prevent the sale of poorer imitations. 

Other favourites already on the list include Cornish pasties, Wensleydale cheese, Jersey Royal potatoes and Arbroath smokies.

In a report, MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Geographically Protected Foods point out that only four have been added to the list since the UK withdrew from the EU, including Gower Salt Marsh lamb and Cambrian Mountain lamb.

After launching a search for the ‘hidden treasures of the British food landscape’ – in a bid to increase the number of protected products from the current 81 to 200 by 2030 – early contenders include the Rutland Pippin, a pastry filled with ham hock (pictured), sausage meat and apple puree; and the Dorset Knob, a savoury biscuit.

Tory MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the APPG and whose Rutland and Melton constituency is home to Melton Mowbray pies, Stilton and Rutland bitter, said: ‘We are going to have a big push to find more foods to qualify for these labels. 

‘I have seen first-hand the extraordinary effort, care and indeed love that goes into making some of the UK’s finest products. 

‘We now have a chance to promote local industries and support our culinary heritage.’

Potential contenders for special status also include Derbyshire’s Bakewell tarts and Gloucestershire’s Stinking Bishop cheese. 

However, the MPs’ report – titled Untapped Potential – warns that food producers find the application process too complicated and cites research showing only 10 per cent of UK shoppers look for protected status labels. 

Tory MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the APPG and whose Rutland and Melton constituency is home to Melton Mowbray pies, Stilton and Rutland bitter, said: ‘We are going to have a big push to find more foods to qualify for these labels.’ (Pictured: Dorset Knob biscuits)

By comparison, 52 per cent of Italians and 40 per cent of French consumers seek out the EU equivalent.

Urging the Government to do more, the report also calls for British embassies around the world to serve and champion UK products at diplomatic and cultural events.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: ‘We are committed to supporting our food producers so they can sell more at home and across the world. 

‘Geographical indication status provides a guarantee to consumers that the product they are buying is the real thing.’

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