Slow Food Blog by Shane Holland - Cheeses losing their PDO in UK post Brexit

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th November 2016

For his latest blog Shane Holland, Executive Chairman of Slow Food in the UK, discusses the state of cheeses in the UK keeping their PDO post Brexit.

In my last article I wrote about how the UK was unique in Europe in having the only PDO which enshrined in law non-traditional production of a product – namely Stilton and how it refuses to admit unpasteurized cheeses using the same process (It is unlawful to even use the word version – there is but one Stilton; or many if you count the cranberries, ginger, lime, chili and a host of the ingredients that the industrial dairies permit themselves to use).

Shane Holland, Slow Food
Shane Holland, Slow Food 

Post Brexit however Cheeses from the UK will lose their PDO & PGI, be they small genuine artisan cheeses such as Single Gloucester made with Gloucester or indeed our friends in the Midlands with their very much pasteurized blue.

These quality marks are important, they guarantee to consumers quality, provenance and authenticity. Take for example Parmesan Reggiano, which is checked throughout production, and any cheese having a slight defect – an air pocket for example - is not allowed to be sold by the wheel, and is instead sold pre-grated to the hospitality sector. So even this cost-effective product is genuine, though I argue lacks any flavour or texture.

Where our European cousins excel is the flexibility in the PDO to allow for traditional expression – all Parmesan was originally made using a breed of cow called, originally “Red Cow”, much in the same way the British Dairy industry used to use the brown Ayshire cattle before moving to the black and white Holstein Fresians of today.

Red Cow’s however have very poor milk yield, but have a much more favourable protein and fat composition, making the most Parmesan-tasting-Parmesan you will ever have the pleasure to eat. It means that traditional animals graze the Emilia Romagna flatlands, and whilst only a tiny percentage of Parmesan is still made in this way,it is available to both consumers and the trade from specialists like http://www.emiliauk.london   Now I think that is my Christmas wish please.


Shane Holland is Executive Chairman of Slow Food in the UK, the UK arm of the World’s largest food NGO. He frequently appears in the media and on expert panels speaking about a variety of issues. You can find out more about Slow Food at www.slowfood.org.uk

>>> Read more from Slow Food here

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th November 2016

Slow Food Blog by Shane Holland - Cheeses losing their PDO in UK post Brexit