‘Work together on PFN applications,’ O’Callaghan tells producers
Producers should collaborate, not compete, when making applications for EU protected food name (PFN) status for their regional speciality products, says Matthew O’Callaghan, chair of the UK Protected Food Names Association.
Speaking to FFD at a Defra event in London for UK food and drink producers , he said the Association can help manufacturers make joint applications to protect the name of a regional speciality.
He commented: “It’s not a cartel. We had one case where a manufacturer felt very threatened by a neighbouring producer’s proposed application, but we talked to them and in the end made a joint application.”
The UK has a poor record in maintaining its protected food designations and must do better, he added. Newcastle Brown Ale lost its status due to a factory move and Buxton Blue cheese is no longer in production, for example.
The UK has 73 regional speciality foods and drinks which boast one of the three levels of protected name status: Protected Designation of Origin, Traditional Speciality Guaranteed and Protected Geographical Indication.
However, Defra would like to see that number rise to 200 or more, said secretary of state Liz Truss.
UK’s protected foods are the “jewels in the crown” of the industry, she added, contributing £900m to the UK economy.
Among recent protected products is Traditional Bramley Apple Pie Filling.
There are 45 PFN applications in the pipeline.