Lancashire and the Lakes ‘protected’ foods and what that means

Cornish pasties, Jersey Royal potatoes and Melton Mowbray pork pies are some of the better-known food names with protected geographical status but Lancashire and Cumbria are home to their own fiercely-defended products.

Protection of geographical indications is a legal status granted to names that indicate geographical origin both inside and outside the UK.

Products can only use names such as if certain criteria are met related to where they are made and the protection was initially afforded by EU law.

There is just one in Lancashire – Beacon Fell traditional Lancashire cheese.

Protected since 2007, this buttery cow’s milk cheese can only use the name if it is produced, processed and prepared in the Fylde area including Preston and Blackpool. Products must be made from full fat cow’s milk and contain 48 per cent butter fat using traditional methods.

It was within sight of the pine-covered slopes of Beacon Fell that the Singleton family had their first dairy farm almost 300 years ago, and the recipe for their Lancashire cheese remains unchanged.

Cumbria boasts two protected food names including Lakeland Herdwick which is limited to products produced, processed and prepared in Cumbria.

Products must be produced from sheep grazed locally and any supplementary feed should be sourced in Cumbria. Lakeland Herdwick lamb must be slaughtered between eight and 12 months of age.

Herdwick sheep are an iconic symbol of the Lakes; born with mostly black wool which lightens with age. Around 95 per cent of all 50,000 or so Herdwicks live within 14 miles of Coniston.

Cumberland sausage was granted protected status in 2011 and in order to use the name products must be made in Cumbria, contain at least 80 per cent meat and be sold coiled rather than linked as with other sausages.

Whether you agree with Brexit or not it matters little to our protected foods because after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union and the transition period which ended last year the UK started its own scheme.

The designations in effect on 31 December 2020 under the EU scheme are, since 2021 governed by UK law.

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Lancs Live – Cumbria