Food Protection

We list our most important buildings to preserve our architectural heritage. Our most important manuscripts are held under controlled conditions in the national archives or in university libraries. Valuable paintings and sculptures are carefully guarded in art galleries and museums. How can we protect our country’s and Kent’s food heritage to preserve it for all time?

Protecting Our Food Heritage

Unfortunately many of our regional foods have long lost the link with the place that gave them their names, or produced on an industrial scale no longer bear much resemblance to the original recipe and contain ingredients never dreamt of in bygone years. UK law has proved virtually powerless to protect our food heritage with one or two rare examples such as High Court decision to award a Certification Trade Mark to Stilton Cheese in 1967.

Whilst at the moment we do not know what may happen to the EU protected food names programme as a result of Brexit, there is no reason why we cannot still apply for accreditations. Maybe the UK will also introduce its own programme in due course.

European Protected Food Names

In 1993 the European Union introduced a Europe wide scheme of Protected Food Names PFN to protect regional foods from imitation across the EU. Three classes of protection are recognised:

TSG - Traditional Speciality Guaranteed
This protects the recipe and ingredients in a product in other words how a product is made and what it is made from. TSG status is open to products which are traditional or have customary names and have a set of distinctive features which distinguish them from other similar products. 

PGI - Protected Geographical Indication
In addition to protecting the recipe and ingredients, how and from what a product is made, PGI says that part of all of the production process must occur within a defined area implied by the name of the product. 

PDO - Protected Designation of Origin
In addition to the above, protecting recipe and ingredients, PDO says that the product must be wholly made or processed in the area and from ingredients that also originate in the area.