The Cornish Pasty Association (CPA) has raised concerns that a Brexit could invalidate the PGI status that protects their products.

Voters will decide on Thursday whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU. The CPA said it was possible that a vote to leave might make Cornish pasties vulnerable to manufacturers making inferior rip offs because the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status was awarded by the EU. 

Speaking on behalf of the CPA, chairman Jason Jobling said: “As an organisation that has benefited from the EU protected food names system, and no clear evidence available to demonstrate that Brexit would enable that protection to continue, the CPA supports Britain remaining in the EU and being able to participate in that system.”

“The CPA believes that the EU’s mechanism for protecting food names is one that helps to protect the consumer from being misled and protects and promotes the integrity of genuine regional speciality foods and drinks,” Jobling said.

PGI is one of three European Union designations to protect regional foods that have a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to that area. It acts like a trademark and stops manufacturers from outside a region copying a regional product and selling it as that regional product.

However, the European Commission said it would not speculate on any potential effects of Britain leaving the EU. “I’m afraid the Commission is not speculating on the result or aftermath of referendum,” a spokesman told British Baker. Likewise, Defra, the Food & Drink Federation and IGD also declined to comment on the possible effect on PGI protected foods.

The baking industry is split on whether a Brexit would benefit or disadvantage the industry. Luke Johnson, chairman of Patisserie Holdings and the founder of Pizza Express, is among business leaders who signed a letter supporting the official Vote Leave campaign, while the chief executives of Asda and Marks & Spencer both signed a letter backing the campaign to Remain.