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Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 16:27 UK
Protection wanted for Cromer Crab
Edible crab

Norfolk's residents are calling for the protection of the Cromer Crab name and product from impostors.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) wants UK food producers to apply for protected status to raise their global profile.

The scheme helps producers guarantee the authenticity of local foods.

"The name should be protected. People can get crabs elsewhere and say they're Cromer Crabs when they're not," said Norwich fishmonger Malcolm Snelling.

Anna Hill, reporter for BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme, discovered that most Norfolk residents go out of their way to buy the crab for its unique taste, but some feel the Cromer Crab title is there to simply boost its price.

Iconic British foods that already hold protected status include Stilton Cheese, Cornish Clotted Cream, Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Arbroath Smokies.

Protectionism should mean that the Cromer Crab will see an increase in its global status, which will in turn improve the income of the local economy.

Cromer Crabs are known for their tender flesh and a high proportion of white meat to dark, with an extra sweet taste
Historically Cromer Crabs were only caught in summer. In autumn, fishermen brought herring to the town and in winter, cod
They are caught relatively young - a shell width of 115mm is the legal minimum
The fleet in recent years has reduced to around a dozen boats and around 200 crab pots
There is concern for the future of the traditional Cromer Crab because the gradual warming of Britain's waters is more appealing to the velvet crab, displacing the brown crab, Cancer Pagarus
Various reasons are put forward for the superiority of the Cromer Crab, including the chalk shelf just off Cromer's coast, which may have an influence on the diet of the creatures

Government Food and Farming Minister Jim Fitzpatrick urges producers and consumers to stand up for local produce.

"Local produce that is traditionally made, unique and authentic, attracts people from all over the world for its taste and its quality," he said.

"It's good for local businesses and local communities. And that's something that deserves protection.

"Ultimately, I want us to be up alongside France and Italy who among them boast more than 300 protected foods - our food is just as good, if not better, than any other European country.

"I want to see the UK's regional foods on the world map," he added.

The call for food protectionism comes after Environment Secretary Hilary Benn reported that population growth of the EU will see Norfolk having to produce much more food in the future.

"We have to feed another two and a half to three billion mouths over the next 40 to 50 years, so I want British agriculture to produce as much food as possible," he said.

He also encouraged British consumers to buy more UK-grown produce and called for a re-think on best before or sell by dates to reduce waste.

UK told to manage food supply
11 Aug 09 |  Nature & Outdoors



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