The ongoing row between Northern Foods and the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association could have repercussions for all makers of regional food and drink who receive or seek protected status from the European Commission.
Northern Foods' objection to the association's application for Protected Geographical Indication status for Melton Mowbray pork pies has been referred by the Court of Appeal to the European Court of Justice, which means it could take up to two years for the case to be resolved. Northern Foods claimed that the association's application, which is supported by Defra, is based on an artificial zone created around Melton Mowbray by the association and is a misuse of EU legislation. This week the Court of Appeal agreed that more clarity on the law regarding PGI status was needed and referred the case to the European court.
Malcolm O'Callaghan, chairman of the association, said that he was still confident as, should the court rule against the application, it would have to revisit protections previously granted for products such as Stilton cheese and Parma ham.