Belfast Telegraph

Cornish pasties and Lough Neagh eels 'under threat'

By Roisin O'Connor

Cornish pasties are said to be under threat from a proposed transatlantic deal that could see the traditional snack lose its legal protection.

It is claimed that the proposed free trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, would mean the EU could not uphold laws that protect regional foods.

In Northern Ireland, Bramley apples from Armagh, potatoes from Comber and eels from Lough Neagh all have protected EU Protected Geographical Indication, while five foods in the Republic also have it. German agriculture minister Christian Schmidt said that protections for regional specialities - ranging from Cornwall's famous meat pastry to Stilton Blue cheese - might have to be dropped if such a deal was made.

"If we want to take advantage of the opportunities of free trade with the huge American market, we can no longer have every type of sausage and cheese each protected as a speciality," he told Spiegel magazine.

Germany has reacted with horror amid fears that famous specialities such as Nurembuger sausages and Dresdner Stollen could soon be under threat from American-made imitators.

In the UK, the Cornish pasty - which is regarded as the national dish of Cornwall and accounts for approximately 6% of the county's food economy - could also lose its protection as a regional food.

Ruth Huxley, manging director of Cornwall Food and Drink, said: "The Association secured Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for the Cornish Pasty in 2011 to protect the heritage and authenticity of the product."

Belfast Telegraph