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News 775 views last update:Nov 9, 2006

Northern Foods drops pork pie zone challenge

A long battle between British pie producer Northern Foods from Leeds and the British department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) is likely to have come to an end.

The producer announced to refrain from a court case against Defra and producers belonging to the Melton Mowbray Pie Association .
 
Pie makers in the Melton Mowbray area - a region traditionally associated with this kind of pie in the East Midlands - raised the issue in an attempt to protect their recipe and create an exclusive zone in which the pork pie can be made.
 
Area
The area encompasses the cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Northampton, but does not include the counties of Shropshire and Wiltshire where Northern Foods produces its Melton Mowbray pies.
 
Northern Foods now has agreed on a five year period to switch the manufacturing to the East Midlands. The company will have to change the recipe and processing techniques over the next five years.
 
Europe
The battle between the company and Defra even touched the EU's geographical indications (GI) system, as the pies might be the first UK product to be protected by GI status.
 
The market is worth an estimated annual €77.1 million and claimed to be the fastest growing section of the pork pie market. Northern Foods has a 24% market share.
 
Genuine Melton Mowbray pork pies are grey in colour and made from uncured pork. The pies should be baked free standing, giving it a unique shape.
 
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