LONDON – Producers of Britain’s Gloucestershire Old Spots pork were recently recognized with specially protected status throughout Europe by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman.

Gloucester Old Spots is the second product to gain accreditation under the Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (T.S.G.) classification of Protected Food Names, after Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey achieved protection 10 years ago. It is the latest in a series of 42 British products, such as Melton Mowbray pork pies and Cornish clotted cream, to win European protection, and it joins the ranks of Champagne and Parma Ham in the register of Europe’s protected food and drink names.

“Gloucester Old Spots pork thoroughly deserves the status and protection offered to it throughout Europe,” Spelman said while speaking at the Three Counties Show in Malvern. “Gloucester Old Spots is the 42nd product to gain protected status, but I know that there must be many other types of food and drink out there which could apply for this special recognition and I’d like to encourage them to come forward — our great food and drink should be celebrated.”

Gloucester Old Spot pork must come from pedigree pigs. Insiders claim the pork is particularly special because the nature of the breed and the way they are farmed means it scores higher for texture (tenderness) and juiciness than conventionally produced pork.

“This has come about after a great deal of work and effort both by ourselves and the small team at D.E.F.R.A. [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs],” said Dave Overton, president of the Gloucestershire Old Spots Pig Breeders’ Club. “For the Gloucestershire Old Spots breed to be the first of any species in the world to be granted T.S.G. status throughout Europe is a significant achievement and will help us to ensure that the integrity of the special meat from these pigs is maintained and that the public can be sure of a real treat when they purchase it in future.

“Numbers of the breed have increased significantly in recent years on the back of its special eating qualities and it is important that the public have this protection to ensure they are not duped by unscrupulous traders passing off other meats as G.O.S. produce,” he concluded.