The Cornish Pasty Problem – protecting the Cornish pasty post Brexit

30th January 2020

The much-loved Cornish pasty was given ‘protected status’, or to use their snappy technical phrase ‘protected geographical indication status’, by the European Union in 2011. But the big question for Cornish pasty makers as we leave the EU at the end of this week will be, will it retain this protected status?

The protected geographical indication (PGI) status awarded to the Cornish pasty meant that pasties made outside Cornwall could no longer be legally be described as ‘Cornish’. At least one stage of the production, processing or preparation of the product must currently take place in Cornwall if the product is to be described as a true Cornish Pasty.

Obtaining a PGI status for a product often provides that product with a competitive edge. It acts as a guarantee of authenticity which often attracts consumers and prevents imitations which are sometimes made more cheaply to compete with the genuine product.

PGI products are protected in the UK and EU with EU regulations. So, the big question for Cornish pasty manufacturers is what will happen to the protected status of Cornish pasty when the UK leaves the EU at the end of this week?

The UK Government has said that it will establish an independent geographical indication scheme which will mirror the EU scheme. The scheme will be operated by a Defra and the local authority trading standards bodies will assume responsibility for enforcing the scheme.

However, as with most Brexit related questions, it is still unclear how and when this UK geographical indication scheme will be implemented in practice.

If you operate a business which uses a geographical indication in its business operation, you must act now to identify the geographical indications in use, determine the territories in which the geographical indication is used and keep a close eye on the UK government discussions in relation to the new UK scheme.

Get in touch
If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, or would like assistance with protected geographical indications, our Head of Intellectual Property, Rebecca Anforth, would be delighted to hear from you. You can reach Rebecca on 01872 226999 or you can email her:rebecca.anforth@murrellassociates.co.uk