Stilton ruling 'cheeses off' village

Plaque saying Original Home of Stilton CheeseA plaque claims that Stilton in Cambridgeshire is home to the cheese

The Cambridgeshire village of Stilton has had its bid to make its namesake cheese rejected.

Under EU law, Stilton can only be produced in Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, where it is thought the cheese originated.

The Bell Inn in Stilton already makes a blue-veined cheese but has to call it Bells Blue instead of Stilton.

The Original Cheese Company had sought to have the EU ruling amended to include the village of Stilton.

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Stilton cheese

Stilton cheese

  • By law blue Stilton can only be produced in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire
  • Only five dairies within those counties are licensed to make the cheese

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said: “As The Original Cheese Company is not producing stilton cheese, its application to change the product specification does not meet EU eligibility rules.”

Liam McGivern, landlord of the Bell Inn, said: “Defra are moving the goalposts. They have rejected the application just because The Original Cheese Company registered the application and not us.

“It’s ridiculous that we can’t make Stilton in Stilton. People come in and ask for it several times a week and I have to tell them we can’t legally call it Stilton.

“We’re going to press on with our fight.”

In 1996, the Stilton Cheese Makers’ Association (SCMA) achieved Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for blue Stilton from the European Commission.

The PDO effectively gives Stilton cheese protection from imitation throughout the EU.

Current EU law only allows Stilton to be produced by a few farms in the East Midlands, where it is believed the cheese originated.

However, Stilton resident and local historian, Richard Landy, claimed documents from the 18th Century could prove the cheese originated in the Cambridgeshire village.

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