Cornish pasty makers were celebrating today after the snack was granted protected status which means they can only be made in Cornwall using a strict traditional recipe.
The British favourite has joined food stuffs like Parma ham, Champagne and Melton Mowbray pork pies after the European Commission granted it Protected Geographical Indication status.
The award follows a nine-year campaign by producers to ensure the snack has to be prepared in the fiercely independent south west county.
Official guidelines now require that pasties have to be prepared in Cornwall, have a distinctive ‘D’ shape and be crimped on one side – never on top – in order to be considered an official ‘Cornish Pasty’.
The rules also state the slow-baked pasty should have a ”chunky filling” of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5 per cent) along with swede, potato, onion with a light seasoning and no additives or preservatives.
Pastry casing is golden in colour, glazed with milk or egg and ”robust enough to retain its shape throughout the cooking and cooling process without splitting or cracking”.
The Cornish Pasty Association first submitted the application for the status in 2002 in an attempt to protect the quality and reputation of the product.
And they were finally celebrating yesterday after the European Commission agreed to grant the status.
Association chairman Alan Adler said authentic Cornish pasties can still be baked elsewhere in the country but they will need to be prepared in Cornwall.
He said: ”By guaranteeing the quality of the Cornish pasty, we are helping to protect our British food legacy.
”We lag far behind other European countries like France and Italy, that have hundreds of food products protected, and it’s important that we value our foods just as much.
”Today’s announcement does not stop other producers from making other type of pasties but they won’t be able to sell them as ‘Cornish’.”
Pasty makers in the county won the backing of the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to take their application to the EU in 2008.
Now granted, it means the pasty has the same status as Roquefort cheese, French Champagne, Jersey royal potatoes and Newcastle Brown Ale.
David Rodda from the Cornwall Development Company and spokesperson for the CPA, said the new status would protect Cornwall’s economy
He added: ”Receiving protected status for the Cornish pasty is good news for consumers but also for the rural economy. By protecting our regional food heritage, we are protecting local jobs.
”Thousands of people in Cornwall are involved in the pasty industry, from farmers to producers, and it’s important that the product’s quality is protected for future generations.”
Dozens of British products are protected under the scheme including Arbroath smokies, Cornish clotted cream, Welsh lamb and Scottish farmed salmon.
Melton Mowbray pork pies also won PGI status following a 10-year fight.
The Cornish Pasty Association was originally formed in 2002 by a group of about 40 pasty makers based in Cornwall to protect the quality and reputation of the snack.
Association members produce 87million pasties a year worth a total of #60million.
The origins of the pasty are largely unknown, although it is generally accepted that the modern form of the pasty was developed in Cornwall.
Tradition states the pasty was originally made as lunch for Cornish tin miners who were unable to return to the surface to eat.
It is believed they would hold the pasty by the folded crust and eat the rest without touching it, discarding the dirty pastry so as not to contaminate the food with their filthy hands.
The earliest known recipe for a Cornish pasty is dated 1746, and is held by the Cornwall Records Office in Truro.