Alan has come out strongly against proposals to weaken the legal protections that cover where and how Stilton cheese can be made.
Currently, Stilton cheese can only be produced in the counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire according to a specific process. The village of Stilton, Cambridgeshire, where the cheese was historically marketed, is now attempting to undo this geographical protection in order to produce the cheese itself.
A separate proposed amendment from a Nottinghamshire dairy aims to allow unpasteurised raw milk to be used in the production of the cheese. Currently pasteurised milk must be used in order to counter the danger of bacterial contamination. Both proposed amendments have faced strong and concerted opposition from Leicestershire cheese makers, which Alan has backed.
In a letter to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, Alan strongly opposed the amendments, describing them as ‘an insidious, unnecessary and unwelcome threat to Stilton cheese makers and the integrity of the brand.’
Alan said: ‘These are nuisance claims that simply don’t stand up to scrutiny. Stilton was merely the place along the Great North Road where the cheese was marketed, never its origin. The reputation and quality of Stilton cheese has been built up over a century by cheese makers in Leicestershire and the neighbouring two counties, where it is an integral part of our heritage. It would be an insult to generations of Leicestershire Stilton makers if the applicants from Cambridgeshire were allowed to piggy-back on their brand and their success.’