Staffordshire cheese wins protected statusIt's recognise for regional identity

29 September 2007

Staffordshire cheese has been awarded the European legal protection enjoyed by world famous regional specialities such as Parma ham, champagne and feta, it has been announced.

The cheese has been recognised for its quality and regional identity under EU law, which protects food names from imitation on the basis of a link to a specific area or because of their traditional recipe.

It joins the ranks of British specialities such as Stilton, Cornish clotted cream and Jersey Royal potatoes which have been awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the EU.

Newcastle Brown Ale

Other British products - including Newcastle Brown Ale and Scottish farmed salmon - enjoy a similar protection, known as Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

John Knox, of the Staffordshire Cheese Company, said the designation was "great news".

'Staffordshire cheese is unique and has a strong identity based on its taste and texture due to the distinctive nature of the cows' diet, the mixture of starter cultures used and the size of the cloth-bound cheese.

'I would encourage more producers to apply to the scheme.'

Regional food

Food Minister Jeff Rooker said: 'This is excellent news and further proof that quality British regional food is gaining the wider recognition it deserves.

'This scheme provides farmers and producers with a way to add value to their product and meet the ever-increasing consumer demand for more regional food.'

He added that the Government was working with a number of organisations to raise awareness of the scheme and encourage more applications.

© The Press Association, All Rights Reserved