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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 11:45 GMT
Protected status bid for sausages
Cumberland sausage
Links between the sausages and the area are being researched
Food producers are starting a campaign to win the same protected status for the coiled Cumberland sausage as awarded to Parma ham and Feta cheese.

A group of Cumbria sausage producers have come together in an association.

They plan to apply to the European Union (EU) for a protected food name which means a product must be produced or processed in a specific area.

Campaign organisers are now appealing for help to highlight the links between the sausages and the county.

Association chairman Austen Davies, from Border County Foods, said: "We have a simple message for all those who, over the years, have demeaned, degraded and devalued the wonderful regional food speciality that is our Cumberland sausage - we're taking it back."

Miners link

The association is still discussing the exact criteria for the sausages, but so far they include a high meat content of more than 80%, the sausage to be coiled, not linked, a wider diameter than conventional sausages and a rough cut texture.

It says the sausage should be prepared in Cumbria and while individual butchers have their own recipes, they are generally more highly seasoned than traditional sausages, which is thought to come from the import of spices at Whitehaven.

The proposal is to apply for a protected food name in the Protection of Geographical Indication category.

The association is being helped by the Leader + programme and Made in Cumbria.

Veronica Waller, from Leader +, said: "We need to demonstrate the link between Cumberland sausage and the area and provide as much information as possible about its history."

One theory about the coiled shape is that German miners working in the coal and iron ore mills of west Cumbria wanted a sausage that reminded them of the ones they ate at home.

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