Newmarket: Suffolk sausage could soon become legally protected

SAUSAGE makers in west Suffolk will find out in the oncoming weeks if their famous produce will become protected by European law.

Newmarket sausages made by Musk’s, Powters and Eric Tenant Quality Butchers could join Cheddar Cheese, Parma Ham and Melton Mowbray pork pies in the pantheon of famous foods with protected geographical indication (PGI).

The three companies, who make up The Newmarket Sausage Association, applied to the European Commission for the status early last year in a bid to protect their products from cheap copycats and improper use.

If succesful, the PGI stamp will mean Newmarket sausages will have to be created in a tight geographical area as well as matching strict requirements on ingredients.

Chris Sheen, managing director of Musk’s, said the association is now waiting for the end of a six-month consultation period which will determine the fate of their application.

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Mr Sheen, who claimed Musk’s sausage recipe could be traced back to 1884, said he hoped that Newmarket would succeed where other sausage makers failed.

“Really this is all about creating protection against imitations that are being made elsewhere. Lincolnshire tried to get a PGI but because so many people make them it didn’t go through. For them it was closing the stable door after the horse had bolted, we want to lock the door before that happens.”

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He added: “The state of play at the moment is that it has been published officially, which means that people now have the opportunity to ask questions and raise objections. We’re hoping to hear something by the end of the month.

“We are quite protective of it, it can still go wrong.”

Mr Sheen said that the PGI stamp, although being a sign for consumers of quality ingredients, did not mean that all of the sausages made by the Newmarket association would taste the same.

He added: “There are differences between the sausages as there is between champagnes, they taste slightly different.”

Melton Mowbray pork pies, Cornish clotted cream, Stilton, Jersey Royal Potatoes, Welsh lamb, Kentish Ale, are some of the foods that enjoy the PGI status in the UK.

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