Protected Geographical Indication status for English beef and English lamb could be in place by next summer, said Eblex.

Defra has put the plan out for consultation, but unless substantial objections are raised it is likely to back the application to register the two names as PGIs.

If Brussels approves the PGI, it would set up a brand for meat reared, killed and packed in England. Welsh and Scottish lamb and beef are already protected.

The project has been launched by Eblex, which believes that success would add value to beef and lamb produced in England.

Richard Ali, chief executive of Eblex, said: "Our research shows that many people in England would like to purchase English product, whether locally or nationally produced.

"We want as many people as possible to be able to benefit from this - it's one more tool in the armoury to differentiate meat from the commodity market."

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