Vote to protect the status of regional foods

More than 140 MPs have signed up to a parliamentary motion supporting the The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) campaign to raise awareness of EU laws that protect the status of regionally produced and distinctive foods.

Tabled by the Rt Hon Alan Duncan MP, whose Leicestershire constituency is home to the renowned Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, the motion has attracted 144 signatures from MPs representing all parties, including: Conservative leadership candidate, David Cameron MP; shadow minister for the environment food and rural affairs, Rt. Hon. Oliver Letwin MP; Birmingham Labour MP, Dr Lynne Jones MP; and the Liberal Democrat agriculture spokesman, Colin Breed MP.

Within the EU, producers can register food and drink as having a protected designation of origin (PDO) or a protected geographical indication (PGI) status.

For example, there is an application currently under consideration for Melton Mowbray pork pies, which if successful means only pies made within a designated area will be allowed to bear the famous name.

Countries such as Italy, France and Portugal make great use of these PDO/PGI statuses but the UK lags behind.

In total, the UK has registered status for only 29 of our distinctive foods - Italy, France, Portugal and Spain have registered 478 between them.

CLA president, David Fursdon, said: "Since the motion was tabled in June 2005, three more foods have been added to the protected list.

"Sadly, these are not UK produce. The level of support from all parties is highly encouraging but now we'd like to see some action from government to help raise awareness of the opportunity presented by the PDO/PGO status to UK producers."