Hospital chiefs have insisted they do not want to replace the Cornish pasty – despite suggesting they could be made with filo rather than the traditional pastry.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has made national media headlines following reports that Its head of facilities told a conference pasties should be made with filo pastry in a bid to reduce their calorie content.

Traditionally, a Cornish pasty is made with shortcrust, flaky or rough puff pastry, and is a protected recipe.

The Cornish Pasty Association said anything reformulated to be made with filo pastry would not be classified as a Cornish pasty and would need to be called by another name.

“We believe the Cornish pasty recipe has stood the test of time and will continue to do so,” added a spokesperson. “Part of the reason the Cornish pasty became so popular is because it can be regarded as a simple, complete, nutritious meal.”

The association said Cornish pasties could be eaten as part of a healthy balanced diet, particularly as pasty-makers have introduced a range of sizes and were always looking at ways of improving products to meet healthy eating guidelines.

The spat follows hospital chiefs coming under pressure to focus on low-calorie food. Last year, they were urged to ensure that pre-packed sandwiches and other savoury pre-packed meals sold in their hospital canteens, stores and vending machines must contain 400 calories or less per serving and must not have more than five grams of saturated fat per 100g

In a statement, The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust stated it was important that it offered hospital patients, staff and visitors “well-balanced, tasty and nutritious food”.

“In response to requests we’ve had, we are introducing lower-fat, lower-salt and lower-calorie alternatives alongside some of our traditional dishes, to give people the choice of selecting a more healthy option,” said a spokesperson. “We do not make and do not want to replace Cornish pasties.”