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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 12:50 GMT
Pork pie row heads to High Court
Melton Mowbray pork pie
Campaigners want pie protection
A pork pie maker is hoping the courts will allow it to carry on making one of its most popular brand-name products.

Northern Foods of Leeds wants to stop an attempt to slap controls on the making of its Melton Mowbray pork pies.

But the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association said pies made by larger firms lacked the correct ingredients and were not made in the Melton area.

The firm is challenging Defra's right to take their application for special status to the European Commission.


The High Court is hearing the arguments for both sides in London on Wednesday.

The local pie makers want their product to have the same "regional foods" protection enjoyed by Champagne and Stilton cheese.

Mark Hoskins, of Northern Foods, told the hearing: "As a matter of everyday language, a pork pie produced in Northampton cannot be said to originate in the town of Melton Mowbray or even in the borough of Melton.

"A label informing consumers that a pie originates in Melton Mowbray when it has in fact been made in Northampton does not constitute an accurate identification of the product's geographical area. In fact, it is highly misleading."

Grey meat not pink
Salt and pepper not MSG
Bowed shape not straight
Made in Melton area
Chopped pork not minced

Northern Foods is claiming that the application is unlawful because the specified area is much larger than a limited region demanded by the EC.

The area claimed in the application takes in Grantham, Nottingham and Northampton - a total area of 1,800 square miles.

The Melton Mowbray pork pie market is worth more than 50m a year.

Association chairman Matthew O'Callaghan said: "This decision will be a turning point for regional British foods."

The association said the pies made outside the region failed to match the right criteria for the Melton Mowbray variety because the meat is pink instead of grey and lacks the characteristic bow-shape.

If the application succeeds, it would be an offence to sell a Melton Mowbray pie not made to the right recipe, with the correct ingredients and in its home town area.

See what sets a Melton Mowbray pie apart

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