Defra has confirmed that in the event that the European Commission grants a Protected Geographic Indicator (PGI) status for Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, it would give long-standing manufacturers of the pies a five-year period to transfer production to the proposed zone of protection.
As a result Northern Food has decided to withdraw its appeal in which it was challenging the application for PGI status.
Defra's clarification, which Northern Foods has been actively pursuing alongside its legal battle, provides a workable time frame for the company to manage any transfer of its production to one of its pastry sites within the proposed zone of protection. Northern Foods could switch production from its sites in Palethorpes, Market Drayton and Trowbridge, Wiltshire, to its Pork Farm Products site in Nottingham.
"It gives manufacturers like us enough time to switch production to the site in Nottingham if the PGI registration is successful. It will be probably be another 12 months before any decision is made on PGI registration," said a spokesperson for Northern Foods.
Carol Williams, head of legal at Northern Foods said the company was pleased with the outcome. "The clarification we have obtained from Defra vindicates our approach and ensures a level playing field for the industry."