Fenland celery given EU protection

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Media captionFenland celery is most prized for its root

Fenland celery has been given the same protected status as the Melton Mowbray pork pie and Scotch beef under the European Union's food quality scheme.

Grown in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, it is light green to white in colour with a crisp, crunchy texture.

The EU said the status will ensure the product is protected from imposters and will help publicise its distinctive nutty and bittersweet flavour.

It has become the 50th UK agricultural product to be protected.

The celery is grown in black deep peat soil and harvested between July and December.

The main variety of Fenland celery, dwarf white, was developed over 100 years ago.

'Global competition'

Under its Protected Geographical Indications status, at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation has to take place in the Fens for the product to be called Fenland celery.

Dacian Ciolos, EU commissioner for agriculture and rural development, said: "The strength of European agricultural production lies in its diversity, in the know-how of farmers, and in the soil and territories of production.

"Given the pressure they are under from the economic downturn, concentration of retailer bargaining power, and global competition, farmers need the tools to better communicate about the quality of their products to consumers."

Other recent UK products to receive protection include Stornoway black pudding and Lakeland sheep.

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