Birmingham's Indian restaurants seek protected EU status for the Balti

19 June 2012 by
Birmingham's Indian restaurants seek protected EU status for the Balti

Indian restaurants in Birmingham have launched an application for the city's famous Balti dish to be given protected EU status.

If successful, the name "Birmingham Balti" would be given EU protected name status, meaning only curries conforming to a precise recipe and cooking method could use the name.

The very first Balti dish, which is named after the pot it is cooked in, is believed to have been served by a Pakistani immigrant called Mohammed Ajaib in Birmingham in 1977.

The dish became so popular that the area of Birmingham between Sparkbrook, Balsall Heath, and Moseley became known as the "Balti Triangle" because of the large number of restaurants serving it. Today, the Balti is a staple at Indian restaurants nationwide.

However, the Birmingham Balti Association claims that because the Balti originated in the city, it has the right to protect the name, similar to other protected goods such as the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie or Wensleydale cheese.

The application is undergoing a 12-week consultation to which interested parties will be able to comment or object to. If there are no objections, it will go before Defra which will then decide whether to forward it to the European Commission.

There are nearly 50 UK products with protected statuses under the EU food scheme, including Kentish ale, Cornish clotted cream and Jersey Royal potatoes.

In 2009, Birmingham City Council launched a campaign to protect the Balti name by preventing Indian restaurants outside the city from using it.

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By Kerstin Kühn

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