Mark Duddridge

Managing director, Ginsters

Following the success of Melton Mowbray pork pies being awarded Protected Geographical Indication status by the European Commission, the Cornish Pasty Association is keen to secure the same protection for the Cornish pasty.

The importance of the pasty to the Cornish economy can't be underestimated. With 86.5 million pasties made in the county each year and some 13,000 people benefiting, indirectly and directly, from the trade, it is not an industry to be sneezed at. Many pasties sold are labelled as Cornish even though they are made elsewhere, without following a traditional recipe or being baked the correct way.

This affects the reputation of Cornish pasties and confuses consumers, who are willing to pay a premium for the genuine article. A group of more than 40 pasty makers based in Cornwall set up the Cornish Pasty Association in 2002 to protect the Cornish pasty. In recent months interest in joining the CPA has been growing, especially from small bakeries. Now CPA members feel the only way to safeguard the product's heritage and reputation, and the future of the industry, is through obtaining PGI status.

If this status is granted, it would mean only pasty makers based in Cornwall would be able to label their products as Cornish. A genuine pasty should have a distinctive 'D' shape and be crimped on one side. It should contain uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef, swede or turnip, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning, with no flavourings or additives. And, perhaps, most importantly, it must also be made in Cornwall.