Lincolnshire Sausage loses PGI appeal

Hopes of securing protected status for the Lincolnshire Sausage were dealt a fatal blow last week after Defra rejected an appeal from producers.

The Lincolnshire Sausage Association submitted the appeal with “significant” new evidence after its initial application for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status was turned down in May, but Defra ruled there was still not enough proof of a strong link between the county and the product.

New evidence submitted in the appeal included an online poll of 16,000 people conducted by sausagefans.co.uk, with 99% of respondents saying they believed that Lincolnshire sausages should be made in Lincolnshire, and a survey of local butchers which suggested that 40% of Lincolnshire sausages are made within the county, rather than the 5% suggested by objectors. However, Defra questioned the “independence” of the poll, pointing out that it was preceded with a statement about the PGI application and made it clear that the results would be used to support the application.

It acknowledged that the survey of butchers suggested Lincolnshire producers might have a greater market share than previously estimated, but said it was still of the view that “any reputation attached to the Lincolnshire Sausage is the result of the differing recipes used and cannot be attributed to the relevant geographical area.”

LSA chairman Janet Godfrey said the decision was a huge disappointment for Lincolnshire butchers, pointing out that similar applications for Melton Mowbray pork pies and Cornish pasties had been accepted. “They really have used very tenuous reasons for not granting us a PGI applicaiton and it is really based on the financial clout of our objectors,” she said.

“It makes a nonsense of the whole protected name issue. It is designed to help small local businesses, such as our local sausage-makers, and it is not doing that.”

Godfrey said it was unlikely the LSA would be able to raise the money needed for a judicial review of the decision. She also dismissed the option of re-submitting the application using the name ‘Traditional Lincolnshire Sausage’ on the basis that it would not provide the necessary protection for local producers.
“We don’t think the public knows the difference between a Traditional Lincolnshire Sausage and a Lincolnshire Sausage and I don’t think we would be able to educate them properly,” she said. “In the meantime, people outside the county are adding all sorts of ingredients and distorting the recipes.”