The Cumberland sausage is the latest British speciality food to be granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status by the EU.
Under EU law, only sausages that are produced, processed and prepared in Cumbria and meet specific standards can be marketed and sold as Cumberland sausages under the PGI mark.
In order to be a Cumberland sausage, a sausage must have an 80% meat content and be sold in a long coil. It must also contain seasoning.
PGI status protects producers in Cumbria against cheaper imitations of inferior quality being sold under the name and will hopefully provide a boost to their economy. It also ensures the heritage of the Cumberland sausage is protected.
It joins other European specialities such as Champagne, Parma Ham and Greek feta cheese that already enjoy the benefits that PGI status brings. The Cumberland sausage also joins other British foods such as the Cornish pasty, which gained protected status in February 2011.
The Food Minister, Jim Paice, said: "We're justly proud of British food and I'm delighted to welcome traditional Cumberland sausage as the first of our many fine sausages to win protected status."
Peter Gott of the Cumberland Sausage Association said the award of PGI status was a "great milestone for the county". He also called the sausage "a truly sensational, diverse food product."
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