The European Commission (EC) has confirmed that it has received an official application from Slovenia for official recognition and protected status for the “Krainer Wurst”.
That means that other countries that might also want to lay claim to the famous sausage or to dispute the Slovenian claim now have six months to register their objections.
Protected status is awarded by the EC for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) to foods when it can be proven that they are regional specialities allowing the areas that originated them to use the name exclusively and licence it to others. That would mean Austria has to rename the Kaesekrainer.
The means the application is bad news for Austria where the cheese filled version of the same sausage is extremely popular.
Other foods that have already been awarded protected status include Melton Mowbray pork pies, the Cornish pasty, Champagne and Parmesan.
Slovenia claims the beloved specialty, made of minced pork and seasoned with garlic and pepper, was invented in northern Slovenia in the 19th Century. But the dispute is complicated by the fact that at the time the region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire anyway.
Austria insists that their cheese-filled variation of the sausage, the Kaesekrainer, is just as much a part of the national heritage.
Slovenia is applying for the status because of the meat’s connection to the Kranjska region which would mean only a sausage prepared in that specific region could bear the name Krainer.
“To rename this beloved speciality is simply impossible. Vienna sausage stands are a trademark of the city and Kaesekrainers have to be on offer.
“Frankfurter sausages are called Wiener Wuerstel in Germany and that is not a problem,” Vienna Chamber of Commerce’s Josef Bitzinger said.
To qualify for the protected geographical indication status, EU bureaucrats have to be satisfied a specialty product comes from a specific region or country, and has a definite quality, goodwill or other characteristic, attributable to its geographical origin.
The entire product must be traditionally and at least partially manufactured within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties.
The European Commission will make a ruling if the two countries cannot resolve the issue in the next six months.