Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire Old Spots pork protected by Europe

Gloucester Old Spot sow and piglets
Image caption GOS pork scores highly for tenderness and juiciness

Meat from a celebrated British breed of pig is the latest food to have its name protected by the European Union (EU).

Gloucestershire Old Spots (GOS) pork is the newest of 42 UK products on the Protected Food Name (PFN) list.

Melton Mowbray pork pies, Cornish clotted cream and Welsh lamb are some of the foods already listed.

The inclusion on the list means that any product bearing the Gloucestershire Old Spots name must come from the breed.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman made the announcement at the Three Counties Show in Malvern, Worcestershire.

'Significant achievement'

She said: "Gloucester Old Spots pork thoroughly deserves the status and protection offered to it throughout Europe.

"Gloucester Old Spots is the 42nd product to gain protected status but I know that there must be many other types of food and drink out there which could apply for this special recognition and I'd like to encourage them to come forward - our great food and drink should be celebrated."

GOS pork must come from pedigree pigs. The way they are farmed means the meat scores higher for texture (tenderness) and juiciness than conventionally produced pork.

GOS is the second product to gain Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) classification, after Traditional Farm fresh Turkey achieved the protection 10 years ago.

Dave Overton, president of the Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig Breeders' Club, said: "This has come about after a great deal of work and effort both by ourselves and the small team at Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

"For the Gloucestershire Old Spots breed to be the first of any species in the world to be granted TSG status throughout Europe is a significant achievement and will help us to ensure that the integrity of the special meat from these pigs is maintained and that the public can be sure of a real treat when they purchase it in future.

"Numbers of the breed have increased significantly in recent years on the back of its special eating qualities and it is important that the public have this protection to ensure they are not duped by unscrupulous traders passing off other meats as GOS produce."

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