We learn last week that the Cornish pasty is safe at last from plain pasties passing themselves off as being from Cornwall, thanks to a decision by the European Union to give that delicacy Protected Geographical Indication status. In this it joins 19 other UK products and over a thousand from elsewhere in Europe protected by GI (“geographical indication”), DO (“designation of origin”), or TSG (“traditional speciality guaranteed”) status under European law.
There’s a designation database available online that you can search or browse by country, product and protection type.
A very few non-European nations can be found in the database — China, principally, which has ten protected agricultural products. (India has two teas protected; Columbia, one coffee). In order for a non-European product to be registered, it must first be “recognized as a GI” in its home country, according to the Commission website.
As we mentioned on Slaw a few months ago, Canada is in the process of negotiating a “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement” (CETA) with Europe, and one of the expected points of difficulty is the European use of PGIs, a system not used within Canada, where trademark law is the typical source of protection for product names. If, as the Europeans are pressing for, Canada adopts the European GI protections, some foods names, such as “feta” and perhaps even “pizza,” that we now regard as generic might be available only to certain European producers.
A recipe for making your own
Cornish pasties can be found here.