October 23 2014 Latest news:
By Ross Bentley
Monday, October 29, 2012
IT is official – Newmarket Sausages have been formally recognised for their quality, history and links to the local area.
After a lengthy consultation, chiefs at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have awarded the Suffolk-based bangers Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.
They now join the ranks of other premium food products including Cornish pasties, Arbroath smokies and Jersey Royal potatoes, which have all gained the quality mark.
The news signals the successful culmination of a six-year campaign by a group of Newmarket sausage-makers to put their local speciality on the map.
In order to apply for PGI status, three local butchers – Musk’s, Powter’s and Tennant’s – had to form an official body, which they named the Newmarket Sausage Association (NSA). This was followed by a lengthy registration process with Defra and submission to the EU for approval.
But for NSA chairman and managing director of Musk’s, Chris Sheen, the wait has been worth it.
He said: “This is something that has been in the pipeline for some time and guarantees the quality of the product. It will help protect the reputation of regional foods, promote rural and agricultural activity within the Newmarket area and recognises the status and longevity of the product.”
According to Mr Sheen, Newmarket sausages tend to be firm and are made with a mixture of spices such as pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon.
They date back to the 1880s and came about as the result of a surplus of pigs, which were kept to clear out the many horse stables in the town.
The sausages have also been served to race-goers at Newmarket’s historic course for more than 100 years and are said to have been enjoyed by Queen Victoria, who issued the meaty delicacies with a Royal Warrant, which continues to this day.
But, it seems, this latest recognition might also reap healthy financial rewards for the town’s sausage-makers and Newmarket in general.
The UK Protected Food Names Association estimates the 50 or so recognised products in the UK are worth about £1billion to the economy.
Two of the best-known, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Stilton cheese – close neighbours in the Leicestershire area – are reported to rack up about £100million in sales and tourism each year.