Sunday, 29 December 2013

Greggs forced to change 'Cornish Pasty' name

The Daily Mail (and the Sun I think, but they are behind a paywall) are boo-hooing the dastardly EU because Greggs the bakers are being forced to change the name of the product they have sold until now as a 'Cornish Pasty'.

The trouble is that it isn't. It isn't made in Cornwall and it contains the wrong ingredients - peas and carrots among them. It may be a very nice product, but it ain't a Cornish Pasty.

There is a system called 'Protected Geographical Indication' (or PGI) which is aimed at protecting traditional products from sub-standard competition. Cheddar cheese, Balsamic vinegar and Champagne are all classed in this category. Anyone can produce sparkling wine, but in order to be called champagne it needs to be produced in the traditional manner and in the Rheims area of France.

This is good news for consumers. It means that if you buy a Cornish pasty then you will be buying something made in Cornwall, supporting Cornish jobs and using the traditional ingredients of beef, swede, potato and onion with a bit of seasoning slow cooked from raw in a pastry shell. There are plenty of other pasties out there, containing a wide range of ingredients. Some a pretty good. But they aren't Cornish pasties and cannot be called such.

To be honest, I don't think Greggs are really complaining too much about this. They knew the rules were changing and have been preparing for it. But the right wing tabloids, desperate for any stick with which to beat Europe, have seized on it.

Feel free to pick your own side in this argument. But if you back local jobs and consumer rights, then I'd suggest that the EU is the side to be on.

2 comments:

Billy Deakin said...

I doubt this is news to many people here in Cornwall, the whole PGI thing was covered pretty well back in 2011 and during the "pasty tax" scandal. I suspect most people won't have realised that it wasn't being fully enforced until 2014 though.

Personally I agree with much off the PGI specification, but not all of it. Labelling a product as a "Cornish Pasty" only if it is made here in Cornwall makes logical sense (products made outside of Cornwall can of course still be labelled as "pasties". The part of the PGI spec which I don't agree with though is that only pasties crimped on the side can be labelled as Cornish... but there are traditional artisan bakers here in Cornwall who crimp on the top, just as many of our mothers and grandmothers did. This restriction seems to have been put in purely to benefit the big mass producers, and has nothing to do with protecting customer's interests or the pasty itself.

Anyway, in general I think the legislation is welcome. I do go into a fair bit of detail about it (and everything else to do with the pasty including my award winning recipes) in my book "Proper Pasties" which is available on Amazon if you're interested!

Billy Deakin
(Amateur Cornish Pasty World Champion 2012 and 2013)

Billy Deakin said...

I doubt this is news to many people here in Cornwall, the whole PGI thing was covered pretty well back in 2011 and during the "pasty tax" scandal. I suspect most people won't have realised that it wasn't being fully enforced until 2014 though.

Personally I agree with much off the PGI specification, but not all of it. Labelling a product as a "Cornish Pasty" only if it is made here in Cornwall makes logical sense (products made outside of Cornwall can of course still be labelled as "pasties". The part of the PGI spec which I don't agree with though is that only pasties crimped on the side can be labelled as Cornish... but there are traditional artisan bakers here in Cornwall who crimp on the top, just as many of our mothers and grandmothers did. This restriction seems to have been put in purely to benefit the big mass producers, and has nothing to do with protecting customer's interests or the pasty itself.

Anyway, in general I think the legislation is welcome. I do go into a fair bit of detail about it (and everything else to do with the pasty including my award winning recipes) in my book "Proper Pasties" which is available on Amazon if you're interested!

Billy Deakin
(Amateur Cornish Pasty World Champion 2012 and 2013)