National and international media gauge opinion in Melton ahead of EU referendum

Melton food champion Dr Matthew O'Callaghan OBE EMN-160614-154437001

Melton food champion Dr Matthew O'Callaghan OBE EMN-160614-154437001

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Melton has been firmly in the national and international media spotlight during the run-up to next Thursday’s European Union (EU) referendum.

The latest broadcaster to visit the town was BBC News who sampled voters in the Cattle Market and the town today (Tuesday). The piece will be broadcast on the 6pm and 10pm news later this week.

ITV has already filmed in the town as has RTE (Irish Television), Russian TV and the American CNN News TV Channel. US-based news agency Bloomberg News also sent a reporter to the town recently as did Capital Radio.

Since Prime Minister David Cameron commented in April on the potential future of the UK’s Protected Food Names products, there’s been much media interest into how Britain’s potential exit from the EU might affect the protected status of the local Melton Mowbray Pork Pies and Stilton Cheese which contribute directly over £100m to the local economy and indirectly to £70m worth of tourism connected with food in the area.

In a letter to the Gloucester Citizen newspaper in April, the Prime Minister said protected status enjoyed across Europe by products would be lost if Britain quitted the EU.

Melton Mowbray Pork Pies were granted protected status by the EU in 2008 meaning only pork pies made in the area could carry the label.

Stilton cheese is also a protected food. Under EU law it is currently illegal to make it outside Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Dr Matthew O’Callaghan OBE, who is chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association and also of the UK Protected Food Names Association, said: “There has been a significant amount of national and international media interest in Melton and what the people of Melton are thinking ahead of next Thursday’s vote.

“If there was a Brexit Melton Mowbray Pork Pies would still enjoy protection from imitation within the reduced EU but there would be no protection in the UK. The Government would have to pass legislation to protect them in this country.

“Columbia isn’t a member of the EU but Colombian Coffee is protected within the EU under the European Protected Food Names scheme.

He added: “A Brexit would hardly affect Stilton Cheese which is registered as certified trade mark as well as a protected food.”