Cornish pasties have won official recognition protection under the EU protected food names scheme, Food Minister Jim Paice announced today.
After 200 years of being handed down from generation to generation, often by word of mouth, the recipe for Cornish pasties will be officially protected across Europe. A genuine Cornish pasty will need to contain chunks of beef, potato, onion and swede (or turnip, as it’s called in Cornwall), all encased in the famous D-shaped crust.
The award of Protected Geographic Indication status means the pasties can only be made in Cornwall, and only pasties meeting the registered specification will be able to carry the name ‘Cornish Pasty’ on their label.
Even the traditional design of pasties tells the story of their history. The shape of the pasty meant tin miners in Cornwall could use the crimped crust as a handle, which they threw away afterwards, to protect them from eating the arsenic found in tin dust.
Cornish Pasties join 42 other British foods who have been awarded special protection and status throughout Europe, bringing them into the ranks of food and drink including Champagne and Parma ham.
Cornish Pasties are the third Cornish product to gain Protected Food Name status, joining Cornish Sardines, Clotted Cream and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.
Mr Paice said:
“The Cornish pasty has to be one of our most loved and iconic foods – it’s recognised the world over. And now when people eat a Cornish pasty, they’ll know it’s been made in Cornwall to a recipe that’s been around for centuries.
“We’ve been supporting the pasty application through the system to get European protection, so I’m delighted to announce that it’s cleared the final hurdle.”
Defra has worked closely with the Cornish Pasty Association to achieve European protection.
The production of Cornish pasties makes a significant contribution to the Cornish economy. It is estimated that some 13,000 people are directly and indirectly benefiting from the trade.