The Newmarket sausage has joined the ranks of the Cornish pasty and Melton Mowbray pork pie by becoming the 50th British food product to be awarded protected status by Brussels.
The decision by the European Commission (EC) means that Newmarket sausages can only be made in a strictly defined area and within guidelines defined by the town’s sausage makers.
The historic sausage will now carry a badge declaring its Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.
In order to make the application, local producers had to form a group – the Newmarket Sausage Association (NSA).
The NSA, which comprises of Musk’s, Powter’s and Tennant’s Butchers, applied for the special status around 2008, but the process started almost a decade ago.
The UK food and farming body announced the decision on Monday.
NSA chairman and managing director of Musk’s, Chris Sheen, said: “This is something that has been in the pipeline for some time.
“We are delighted as it puts us on par with Cumberland sausages and of similar status to the better-known Melton Mowbray pies and the Cornish pasty.
“It will help protect the reputation of regional foods and promote rural and agricultural activity within the Newmarket area and recognises the status and longevity of the product within the area.”
The sausages, which were traditionally enjoyed by race-goers at the historic Newmarket course, have been made in the area since the 1800s.
Queen Victoria became the first member of the Royal Family to issue the sausages with a Royal warrant, which continues to this day.
Speaking on behalf of Powters, managing director Grant Powter said: “I am delighted that this regional food product has now gained the protection it deserves by virtue of the reputation and quality which have been traditionally attributed to the making of sausages in Newmarket for over 150 years.
“This in turn will raise the profile of the Newmarket sausage throughout the UK as well as Europe.”
Food and Farming Minister David Heath said PGIs were not only important for keeping traditional foods and recipes alive, but also made a “significant contribution” to the local and national economy – Melton Mowbray pork pies and Stilton cheese rack up around £100 million in sales and tourism each year.
“The recipe for the Newmarket sausage is unchanged since the days of Queen Victoria and the original recipe has been passed down the generations,” he said.
“This is yet another example of the quality of British foods and we can be justly proud of the position of our produce in the international market.”