Imitations of the Cornish pasty will be outlawed in the New Year when the final piece of European legislation protecting the county’s iconic meal falls into place.
The humble snack was granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the European Union in 2011 after a nine-year campaign by the Cornish Pasty Association.
The ruling meant that only pasties prepared in Cornwall and made to the traditional recipe – beef, potatoes, onions, swede and light seasoning – could be sold as a “Cornish pasty”.
Six major bakers, however, were granted a three-year transition period to allow for changes to manufacturing processes and packaging.
The Cornish pasty made by Northern-based baker Greggs, which sells millions every year, contains peas and carrots. The firm confirmed it would simply change the name of its snack to beef and vegetable pasty in the New Year.
A spokesman for the Newcastle-based company said: “The name will change in 2014 because Cornish pasties have achieved PGI status.”
PGI status safeguards the reputation of products such as Stilton cheese, Italian Parma ham and Roquefort cheese. West Country Beef and West Country Lamb also joined the list this month. dec
The Cornish Pasty Association, which represents more than 50 pasty makers in the county, submitted its bid in 2002 to protect the quality and reputation of the snack.
Association chairman Elaine Ead welcomed the end of the compliance period and said the county was already benefiting economically from the EU ruling.
“It is so important to the Cornish economy,” Mrs Ead, from the award-winning Chough Bakery in Padstow, said. “It is helping Cornish farmers and vegetable growers and employing people in bakeries and shops.
“Across the country many bakers shops are closing but in Cornwall they are doing reasonably well and I believe that is down to the value of the Cornish pasty.”
The EU decision means a pasty is only genuinely Cornish if it has a distinctive “D” shape and is crimped on one side, never on top.
The filling for the pasty has to be made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef with swede, potato, onion and light seasoning.
The pastry casing has to be “golden in colour, savoury, glazed with milk or egg and robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking”. No artificial flavourings or additives must be used.
To legally be sold as a Cornish pasty it also has to be made in Cornwall although can be baked elsewhere.
Mrs Ead said she would “never dream” of straying from the traditional recipe. She added: “The Cornish pasty is part of our history. There are lots of regional specialities across the country and they should be celebrated.”