From Cornish pasties to Wensleydale cheese, Cumberland sausages to Melton Mowbray pork pies, there are a feast of British treats whose geographical status is rightly protected, meaning poor imitations cannot threaten their reputation for excellence.
Now, the UK’s newest food group, Food from England, is lending its support to plans to expand and develop this so-called Geographical Indication (GI) scheme by getting the nation’s foodies involved. The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Geographically Protected Foods has launched a consultation for consumers, producers and retailers to ask them how the scheme can be improved. The results will be shared with the Government. The consultation was developed with input from leading food experts, including the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise.
Food from England, which was launched back in November after being created from over 30 regional groups jointly representing more than 40,000 producers, is relishing the opportunity to ensure that the country’s finest delicacies are further safeguarded against inferior copies, while also playing its part in helping to identify more tasty treats and tipples to add to the GI list.
Food from England co-founder, Rachel Mallows MBE, who runs member group ‘Made In Northamptonshire’, says inviting the nation’s food lovers to have their say on the future of the scheme, thanks to the public consultation recently announced by the Government’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Geographically Protected Foods, is an exciting step in enhancing Britain’s place on the global culinary map:
“We’re so proud to be able to boast of hundreds of brilliant food and drink specialists whose use of the best local ingredients and traditional methods have made the UK’s food scene a force to be reckoned with around the world” explained Rachel.
“Now, by asking producers, retailers, consumers and businesses to help shape how the GI scheme will operate in the future, we’re confident that international reputation can only be strengthened further and we hope that anyone who shares our passion for all things epicurean will play their part. We’re also delighted that, with just 65 GI products here in the UK compared with France’s 217 and the Italians’ 267, we can all help to identify more products to be included in the scheme so that, who knows, some of our own county’s gourmet delights (like Brixworth pate or Northamptonshire sauce) might earn their GI stamp of quality and one day rightly be celebrated alongside the likes of Stilton cheese and Whitstable oysters” she enthused.
Those are sentiments echoed by the All-Party Parliamentary Group’s founder and Chair and MP for Rutland and Melton, Alicia Kearns, who wants everyone to contribute:
Commenting on this partnership with Food from England, Alicia Kearns MP said “It is vital that we make the GI scheme even better so that local food producers can take advantage of new opportunities at home and abroad all of us can support our wonderful heritage foods. Anyone who enjoys, sells or produces our great British foods and drinks should make sure to have their say, and give the Government a full picture of the food and drink landscape to make sure have a world-leading GI scheme.”
“We have already received extremely helpful feedback from many GI producers. Your views will make a huge difference to how the Government develops the GI scheme”, she added.
The public consultation was announced following the UK’s departure from the European Union on 31st January 2020, meaning control of the scheme now falls under the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs rather than with Brussels.
The consultation survey – the conclusions of which will shape how GIs will be managed in the future – can be found at here and will open until Sunday 27th June.