Traditional food from the UK’s regions, such as Gloucestershire’s famed cider, cheese and sausage, could be at risk if the country left the European Union, David Cameron has warned.
Writing in the Gloucester Citizen, Cameron said farmers would lose the protected status awarded by the EU for food made in their area. This ensures, for example, that only pasties made in Cornwall can be called Cornish pasties and beef farmed in Wales can be branded Welsh Beef.
Cameron’s warning came after the National Farmers’ Union said their members would be better served by remaining in the EU.
“If we leave the EU and our farmers have to operate under World Trade Organisation rules, things would be very different,” Cameron wrote. “Protected status enjoyed across Europe by our unique products, such as Gloucestershire cider, Single Gloucester cheese and traditionally farmed Gloucester old spot pork, will be lost.”
Downing Street would not say whether Cameron planned to make similar appeals to citizens of other areas about their local food. No 10 may be wary of this following criticism last month for touting almost identical articles to local newspapers around the UK in an attempted PR “carpet bombing”.
The Yorkshire Post refused to publish what was billed as a “very personal” opinion piece by the prime minister, after it discovered tweaked versions of the same piece had been sent to several other regional titles as part of what it called a “sham media operation”.
Despite this gaffe, the remain camp believes local media is an invaluable way for the prime minister to reach voters with targeted messages.
On Thursday morning Cameron appeared on Cornish radio to make the case for staying in the EU.
Leave campaigners have repeatedly accused him of scaremongering in order to try to keep the UK in the EU and exaggerating the dangers of leaving.