What’s in a name? Discovering Protected Food Names

  • Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service

    Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service

    Raw: Obamas Attend Easter Service

    President Barack Obama and his family attended Easter services in celebration this Sunday. (April 20) …

  • Raw: Pope Greets Easter Tourists on Popemobile

    Raw: Pope Greets Easter Tourists on Popemobile

    Raw: Pope Greets Easter Tourists on Popemobile

    Pope Francis rode out on the popemobile Sunday to greet more than 150,000 tourists in St. Peter's Square for Easter Sunday, Christianity's most joyous and hopeful day. (April 20) …

  • Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station

    Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station

    Raw: Easter Morning Delivery for Space Station

    Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The SpaceX company's cargo ship, Dragon, spent two days chasing the International Space Station following its launch from Cape Canaveral. (April 20) …

What’s in a name? Discovering Protected Food Names

And that means more than just 'Pretty Good Ingredient'. In fact, PGI stands for Protected Geographical Indication, and it is one of three marks which the EU can award to a European food or drink to give it legal protection against imitation. Put bluntly, this golden seal of approval means no-one else can make that product, unless they meet the exact same standards set by the original producer.

The three golden seals

Since The EU Protected Food Names (PFN) Scheme launched in 1993, 48 UK food and drink producers have successfully applied for one of three stamps. Let’s deal with the trio in alphabetical order.

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

logoExamples: Cornish Clotted Cream, Jersey Royal Potatoes, Stilton Cheese.

To call your product Cornish Clotted Cream, you must produce, process and prepare it in Cornwall; and the features of your clotted cream must be due to it being made in Cornwall (so, you must use milk from Cornish cows, for example).

Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)

logoExamples: Herefordshire Perry, Dorset Blue Cheese, Cornish Pasty.

To call your product Herefordshire Perry, you must produce, process or prepare it in Herefordshire; and the features of your Herefordshire Perry must have a local reputation, or certain features/qualities attributable to Herefordshire.

Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG)

logoExamples: Gloucester Old Spot Pig and Traditional Farmfresh Turkey.

This one’s a bit different. The TSG mark is open to products which are traditional or have customary names, and have features which distinguish them from other similar products. But these features do not have to be attributable to a certain area.

…so it sounds like PDO is the gold medal, PGI is silver, and TSG (there are only two TSG products in the UK) brings up the rear with bronze. But it’s damn hard work to get even a TSG.

Patience is a virtue

It’s not just a case of writing a nice letter to the EU folks pleading your case. With good reason – the process has to be robust, or else too many products would be awarded a golden seal –, it can take up to two years for a product to become registered. And there are about 10 stages to the process, including 12 months for the commission team to examine the application. The award for Melton Mowbray Pork pie took 11 years! It is the EU Standing Committee who has the final say.

But then again, the food producers who apply for PFN status are usually passionate, driven sorts, who would happily spend two years for the cause. Let’s take the example of Arbroath smokies, who were awarded their PGI in 2004…

The Arbroath Smokies example

smokieWhat is an Arbroath smokie? It’s haddock, which are dry-salted in tubs; tied by the tail in pairs and hung on sticks; placed over a half whisky barrel, which is burning a beech and oak hardwood fire; then smoked until golden brown. Authentically the fish is then eaten straight from the barrel.

The Spink family uses only this method (which dates back to the 1800s) to make their smokies at Arbroath, a Scottish town on the North Sea coast. So you can understand why founder Bob Spink (his son Iain now runs the firm) was so hacked off when a fishery in Cornwall also started to sell ‘Arbroath Smokies’, despite the fact that they were made in Cornwall, and smoked in large, electric kilns. Applying for PFN status was, it seemed, the only way to stop this travesty.

When they were awarded their PGI eight years ago, Bob said: “At last, after this lengthy process, we have a major success story to shine a light in the gloom that has been the recent lot of the fish processing industry…This recognition from Europe will ensure the quality, tradition, and identity of the Arbroath Smokie”

…and so the Cornish Arbroath Smokie was no more.

Introducing Irene Bocchetta

ireneSo I’ve decided to try and get PFN status for my St Albans lemon drizzle cake. What do I do first? How do I fill out the application form? Thank goodness for Irene Bocchetta, the EU Protected Food Names Manager at ADAS, who gives UK producers making PFN applications a helping hand. I caught up with her to dig a little deeper into the PFN issue.

How many food producers are successful with their applications?

The role of ADAS is to vet each application. I talk to the applicant group, meet with them and find out if their product could meet the criteria of a protected food name. Based on that, the success rate is high because the ground work is thorough. When an application does not progress it is normally because the applicant has decided not to carry on with the application – it’s a totally producer-lead process.

Why does the UK only have 40-odd PFN products, while places like Italy have over 200?

The UK has a pretty poor history when it comes to documenting food, whereas other European countries like Italy have been doing it so well for hundreds of years. So you see, when in 1993 it came to registering products for PFN status, Italy already had the documentation to refer to, so filling out the paperwork was relatively easy. The UK on the other hand had little to work with. Take Swaledale cheese, for example. That’s a 400 year-old recipe, but because it wasn’t well documented hardly anybody had heard of it, and so applying for its PFN status was harder.

Is it worth going through such a lengthy process to get PFN status?

pieIt is lengthy, but definitely worth it. The thing is, once you’re protected by a PDO, PGI or TSG mark, no other producer can even give their product a similar name, let alone the same one. There’s no getting away with it. Now that Melton Mowbray Pork Pies have PGI status for example, supermarkets can no longer pass off fluorescent pork pies as Mowbray pies. Which is, of course, a good thing!

Alas I don't think my drizzle cake will be gold-sealed anytime soon. But I'd still like to be involved. We can all help by buying PFN food and drink, which directly supports local producers and will ensure that you’re buying a top notch product. For a list of all the PFN products in the UK, check out Irene’s very helpful and colourful map.

Did you know what PFN products were before you read this? Have you any to nominate? And should we be pushing more through, faster? Talk to us in the Comments Box below…

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily entertainment updates.

  • Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular
    Hana Ahmad - Tupai
    Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular 20 hours ago
    Kumpulan pop 1990-an popular

    Dunia muzik tahun 1990-an dipenuhi dengan kumpulan pop lelaki dan wanita seperti Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Hanson, Boyzone dan banyak lagi! …

  • Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa
    Azizah Saleh - Tupai
    Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa 20 hours ago
    Hans Isaac bakal arah filem antarabangsa

    Pengarah serta penerbit berbakat, Hans bakal mengarahkan filem berbahasa Inggeris. …

  • Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood
    Syahida Kamarudin - Tupai
    Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:16 AM MYT
    Dari Hallyu ke Hollywood

    Para pelakon Korea Selatan yang berjaya menempa nama dalam industri filem Hollywood. …

  • Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage'
    Cover Media
    Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage' Sat, Apr 19, 2014 2:30 PM MYT
    Tori Spelling 'fighting for marriage'

    Tori Spelling is said to believe she can cure Dean McDermott's "cheating ways". …

  • Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub'
    Cover Media
    Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub' Sat, Apr 19, 2014 11:00 AM MYT
    Nicki Minaj 'wants wedding in a hot tub'

    Nicki Minaj reportedly plans to have fire breathers and "naked performers" at her wedding. …

  • Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones 20 hours ago
    Tidur lena dengan SleepPhones

    SleepPhones dapat membantu anda untuk mengatasi masalah-masalah yang tidak diingini ketika tidur. …

  • Kebaikan air kacang soya
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Kebaikan air kacang soya Sat, Apr 19, 2014 12:18 AM MYT
    Kebaikan air kacang soya

    Ramai yang mungkin suka minum air kacang soya, namun ramaikah yang tahu akan khasiat atau kebaikan kacang soya ini? …

  • Tips penjagaan bawah lengan
    Azwa Iela - Tupai
    Tips penjagaan bawah lengan Fri, Apr 18, 2014 11:20 AM MYT
    Tips penjagaan bawah lengan

    Di sini kami ingin berkongsi dengan golongan wanita di luar sana beberapa tips berguna untuk mendapatkan bawah lengan yang cerah. …

  • Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, U.S. boxer famous in folk song, dies at 76
    Cameron French and Emily Flitter - Reuters
    Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, U.S. boxer famous in folk song, dies at 76 4 minutes 0 seconds ago
    Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, U.S. boxer famous in folk song, dies at 76

    By Cameron French and Emily Flitter TORONTO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. professional boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent 19 years in prison for murder and then was released after it was determined he did not get a fair trial, died on Sunday at the age of 76, according to his friend and caretaker John Artis. Carter, considered a folk hero by many and immortalized in film and song, had been battling prostate cancer for nearly three years, Artis said. He died at home in Toronto, where …

  • Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan?
    Yahoo Newsroom
    Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan? Thu, Sep 19, 2013 1:54 PM MYT
    Dapatkah Pelat Dipulihkan?

    Pelat bukanlah disebabkan oleh lidah yang pendek. Apakah punca pelat? …

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.