The Melton Mowbray pork pie could receive protected geographical status in less than a year after Northern Foods withdrew its appeal against the move this week.

Matthew O'Callaghan, chairman of the ­Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, said a decision on the case was now expected from the European Commission in the New Year.

Northern Foods dropped its appeal, which had reached the European Court of Justice, after receiving confirmation that the Commission would give long-term manufacturers of the pie five years to transfer production to within the proposed zone, if it decided to award PGI status.?