Will Brexit be the end of protected foods?

Cornish pasties, Welsh lamb and Single Gloucester cheese.

All these foods have ‘Protected Food Name’ (PFN) status from the European Union, meaning that they can only be made by certain producers, in a certain way.

Single Gloucester cheese for example, can only be made in Gloucestershire with a herd of Gloucester cattle and a specific technique.

However, farmers and cheese fans alike are concerned that when we leave the EU this protection will be lost.

This would mean that instead of being produced only in Gloucestershire, the products could be made anywhere.

Co-owner of Godsells cheese Brian McNab-Jones has been making Single Gloucester for 17 years, and says he thinks this would undermine the quality of the product.

“It would definitely de-value it, it could potentially undo exactly what we set it up for, first to protect a rare cattle species, and the second to stop it being made outside of Gloucestershire.”

If we lose the protection we’re concerned it could be made anywhere in the world, and that they could import it cheaper than we could make it.”

“I think you’ve got to have something that mirrors what the EU are doing…make Single Gloucester in Gloucestershire.”

The government’s Ministry for Agriculture has not yet outlined a plan to replace the EU scheme, but a spokesperson told the BBC: “These products are extremely important to our reputation as a great food nation and we will work to ensure they benefit from protection in the future.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said they support the use of protected geographical status for foods.
“We are planning to use the EU withdrawal bill to transfer into domestic law the EU schemes that currently protect our GIs” (geographical indications), said Pauline Johnson, the food chain directorate of DEFRA.

Britain has 77 protected products, and several are specific to Gloucestershire, including Gloucester Old Spot pork and Gloucester Perry.

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