Call for more protected status

Farming minister Jim Fitzpatrick is encouraging more food producers to apply for European protected status for the food they produce.

At a Defra event at Downing Street to showcase UK foods which have Protected Food Name status, Fitzpatrick urged more producers to stand up for their produce and consumers to get behind local UK-produced food.

He said: “Through this scheme, we have a way to stand up for local producers and protect their products. So I’m calling on more British producers to get their food protected and for their communities to get behind them. It’s not something that can be done overnight, but it’s worth it, in terms of the protection it gives the producer and the opportunities it creates for their renowned products.

“Ultimately, I want to us to be up alongside France and Italy who among them boast more than 300 protected foods – our food is just as good, if not better, as any other European country’s. I want to see the UK’s regional foods on the world map.”

At present, there are 38 products currently registered in the UK with protected status, including Melton Mowbray Pork Pies which are claimed to serve as major tourism draw cards for their home regions. In addition, the government has submitted a further 15 applications for protection to the European Commission.

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) head of government affairs Terry Jones said: “As a supporter of the Protected Food Name schemes, the NFU supports this initiative and we look forward to working with government to continuously improve food provenance information for consumers.”