The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has launched a campaign to encourage more regionally and locally produced foods to be safeguarded under EU rules.

"We should celebrate and champion our regional food in the same way that France, Italy and other European countries recognise and protect their distinctive products and produce," said Mark Hudson, CAL president.

To kick start the CLA's campaign to encourage more regionally and locally produced foods to be safeguarded under EU rules, member of parliament Alan Duncan, whose constituency includes Melton Mowbray, home of the renowned Melton Mowbary Pork Pie, has tabled a parliamentary motion calling on the government to actively engage with the food industry to raise awareness of this opportunity to protect regionally distinctive food and to promote regionally distinctive British food in Europe. Already, MPs from all parties have signed the motion to indicate their support.

The EU can register food and drink as having a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.  For example, there is an application currently under consideration on Melton Mowbray pork pies. If successful only pies made within a certain area will be allowed to bear the famous name.

 "The UK has some of the finest quality food in the world but we need to be much smarter about safeguarding the names of these foods and in promoting them to UK consumers, visitors to this country and to the rest of Europe," said Mark Hudson. "Not enough food producers are aware that they can apply to have the name of their wonderful sausages, smoked fish or traditional cakes secured in this way - helping them to get across to the consumer just what it is that makes their product great."

"If organisations such as the CLA and regional food groups with the support of the government can raise awareness and raise the level of successful applications, then perhaps by the time we welcome overseas visitors to the 2012 Olympics no one will dare cast doubt on the quality of UK food," he said.

"I am fully behind the CLA's campaign in support of regionally and locally produced food," said Alan Duncan. "I really believe that Britain produces some of the world's best food and our regional produce is as distinctive and as high quality as any in the rest of the world.  Other countries in Europe have taken steps to protect and encourage the production of regional foods, I therefore believe that it is important that British producers enjoy the same advantages as our European competitors.  Regionally distinctive food has a huge role to play in encouraging the development of high quality, high value added production in rural areas."