The proposed sale of Northern Foods' chilled pastry business, which manufactures Melton Mowbray pork pies, has raised doubts over whether its long-running row with the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association will continue.

Last week Northern Foods said that it was selling the unit as part of a radical overhaul of its business.

However Northern Foods' legal battle against the ass­ociation's application for European protected status for the pies could still take two years to be resolved.

A spokeswoman for Northern Foods said that it would continue to progress with the case.