04 October 2010, 18:19 PM
  • The Crazy Bear Farm in Oxfordshire has become the first British retailer to gain approval to sell Gloucestershire Old Spot pork, under a new scheme which aims to protect the specialty meat

The breed of pork was granted Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG) accreditation by the European Union in July, meaning it now ranks alongside protected products such as Melton Mowbray pies and Cornish clotted cream. The scheme bans farmers and retailers across Europe from branding a pig not from the special breed as an Old Spot.

The decision is a victory for breeders of the pig who have campaigned for several years to see the English breed – recognisable by its white skin with black spots – protected. To achieve the accreditation, pigs must come from pure-bred, pedigree stock and be produced using high-welfare, non-intensive techniques.

The Crazy Bear Farm sells and serves bacon and pork from its own herd of the prized pigs in its farm shop, restaurants and hotels. The animals are farmed on eighty acres of pasture surrounding the retail outlet.

“Certification of any type can only help business, but being TSG approved is the ultimate reflection of our proposition; we have complete control over the environment in which our animals live, and to be acknowledged for excellence at this level is rewarding and motivational,” says Justin Carter, farm manager.

“People are increasingly interested in the origin and welfare of their food, and are sometimes sceptical of some retailers’ packaging statements for good reason. The TSG certification removes any doubt and confirms that you are buying pure bred pedigree produce which has been recognised by the EU Commission,” he adds.

Meat from Gloucester Old Spot pigs has become only the second British product to gain TSG accreditation, after Traditional Farmfresh Turkey achieved protection ten years ago.  The programme is part of the Protected Food Names Scheme – operated in the UK by Defra – and works in a similar way to projects such as PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographic Indication), which are used to protect foodstuffs such as Parma ham and Champagne.