Defra rejects the village of Stilton’s blue cheese claim
Cheese-makers in the Cambridgeshire village of Stilton have seen their latest attempt to make the namesake blue cheese blocked by the Government.
Defra rejected an application from The Original Cheese Co to amend the current EU Protected Designation of Origin rules, which state that Stilton can only be made in the counties of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
This decision is another blow to a long-running campaign led by the firm’s director Richard Landy, who claims to have historical evidence that the cheese actually originated in Stilton.
While Landy’s firm does not currently produce blue cheese, a village pub The Bell Inn does make one that it sells as Bells Blue.
A Defra spokesman said: “As The Original Cheese Company is not producing Stilton cheese, its application to change the product specification does not meet EU eligibility rules.”
Bell Inn landlord Liam McGivern told national newspapers that Defra was “moving the goalposts”. Both he and Landy have vowed to continue to lobby for a change in the rules.
Currently there are only six producers, including Colston Bassett, Long Clawson and recently revived Hartington Creamery, legally making the blue cheese.
The producers’ representative body Stilton Cheesemakers Association says Stilton takes its name from the village because it became a major sales hub for the cheese during the 1700s.