May 16, 2012 2.05 pm This story is over 145 months old

Lincolnshire sausage protection bid butchered

Out with a bang(er): DEFRA declined an application to have Lincolnshire sausages produced only in the county.

Lincoln butcher Kenny Roberts from Elite Meats in the Bailgate proudly displays his Lincolnshire bangers

— Updated on May 17 with comments from Lincolnshire Sausage Association and Tastes of Lincolnshire

A bid to ensure Lincolnshire Sausages are produced solely in the county was rejected this week by DEFRA.

The Lincolnshire Sausage Association made a bid for Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) in Europe to protect the traditional recipe.

This would mean no other butcher or company outside of Lincolnshire would be able to produce the famous sausage.

The Lincolnshire Sausage Association argue that supermarkets and other brands outside the county are altering the recipe too much.

Additionally, it could also bring extra tourism to the county to taste a true Lincolnshire banger.

The application has been under decision by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for the past two years.

Many variations of the recipe

DEFRA said it declined the application due to its potential to put too many jobs at risk.

Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice said: “British food is outstanding and we’re working hard to protect the local heritage of certain foods through PGI status.

“But with so many variations on the recipe, and 95% of sausages sold under the ‘Lincolnshire Sausage’ label being made outside the county, the application as it stood could have seriously damaged businesses and jobs.

“We remain open to looking at other options which would allow producers in Lincolnshire to highlight the traditional and local nature of their sausages without potentially damaging the overwhelming majority of manufacturers.”

A true Lincolnshire sausage is at least 70% pork meat, coarsely cut and mixed with rusk breadcrumbs and sage, packed in natural casings.

Too much emphasis on recipe

— Update 2: The Lincolnshire Sausage Association (LSA) said in a statement it is “devastated” to hear of Defra’s rejection of the application for PGI status.

“The LSA has spent a considerable amount of time and effort into making sure the application complied with the requirements of the articles and feel that insufficient account has been taken of all the evidence provided.

“Too much emphasis has been placed on the recipe rather than the method of production. In particular, no account seemed to have been taken of the coarseness of the mincing process which gives the true Lincolnshire sausage its bite and too much has been made of the ‘predominance of sage’.

“It appears that Defra has capitulated to large scale commercial producers, some of whom openly admit to putting no meat into their product.

“What a pity, at a time when Jim Paice is leading a delegation to China to promote our pork products to them, that he could not support one of Britain’s most iconic products, namely the Lincolnshire Sausage.

“The LSA does not believe that Defra has taken sufficient account of the strong support of the Lincolnshire people.

“Too much credence has been placed on the objectors’ claims, many of which were accredited to unnamed producers who had not objected to our application.

“Defra has failed to recognise the damage that so-called ‘Lincolnshire Sausage’ made by large manufacturers outside of the county is doing to the reputation of the genuine article.

“Support for this application from Defra would have helped to boost well over 150 small to medium enterprises in Lincolnshire – not just butchers but tourism in the county.

“We are sad and disappointed with this response and will be taking legal advice as to our next steps. We have only 10 working days to respond so we must act quickly.”

— Update 1: Tastes of Lincolnshire said in a statement: “The Lincolnshire sausage is an iconic and hugely important product for our county and we are so disappointed that it did not get the recognition it deserves and the protected geographical indication status.

“We are also hugely disappointed for our members who work tirelessly to promote provenance, food credibility and quality and contribute so much to the Lincolnshire economy.

“There may be slight variations on recipes but the importance of the individual ingredients and their inherent connection to Lincolnshire is clear.

“You only have to look at the prominence of this great Lincolnshire delicacy from our food fairs and farmers markets to our thriving autumn Sausage Festival to know that we put the sizzle into sausages.

“The Lincolnshire Sausage Association must be commended for their unstinting hard work in maintaining the profile of the product and this campaign.”