Liz Truss seeks legislation to protect British food status
Environment Secretary Liz Truss wants to use British law to protect food and drink from across the country after Brexit.
The Cabinet minister told MPs that she is keen to develop "British protected food name status" as a replacement for the EU scheme currently in operation.
Cornish clotted cream, Welsh beef and Melton Mowbray pork pies are among the British produce which enjoyed protected status under EU law to guarantee place of origin and authenticity.
The Cornish Pasty Association and Prime Minister David Cameron were among those backing Britain remaining in the EU in order to ensure regional products continued to receive protection across the continent.
Speaking in the Commons, SNP MP Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) told Ms Truss: " One of the items on the Great British food website is the promotion of the EU protected food names scheme, which mentions that 73 products in the UK are protected under the EU scheme.
"What are you going to put in place to protect that scheme once the UK Government drags us out of the EU?"
Ms Truss replied: "I think we're up to 74 protected food names now, maybe it's not been updated on the website.
"What I'd say is I think this is an extremely important issue.
"It's one of the issues we're working on at the moment, but I'd like to see a British protected food name status that we develop in the future."
Ms Truss earlier explained her ongoing work to promote British produce, including "classic gin and tonic".
Tory MP Graham Evans (Weaver Vale) joked: "Sounds good to me, secretary of state - a bit early for me personally."
In her reply, Ms Truss said: "It's never too early for a gin and tonic in my opinion."
She also told Mr Evans: "Now the British people have made the decision to leave the EU, the Great British food unit is even more important.
"We already have missions planned to the Gulf, China and Japan to open more markets for fantastic British food, and I'm going to be increasing the resources into the Great British food unit to make sure that we turbo charge our efforts to export more British food right around the world."