11/05/2016 16:40 BST | Updated 11/05/2016 18:52 BST

'Brexit' Campaigner Boris Johnson Waves EU-Protected Cornish Pasty Around At Battlebus Launch

'In' campaign warns of "cheap pastiche pasties"

Boris Johnson faces embarrassment after brandishing a Cornish pasty as he set off on a 'Brexit' battlebus - only for critics to seize on the dish being protected by Europe.

The Leave campaign's cheerleader-in-chief today clutched a pasty and gave a Richard Nixon-style salute as he got off the bus in Truro, west Cornwall, on the start of a nationwide tour ahead of the June 23 referendum.

It also emerged the bus they were traveling on was from Poland. 'In' campaigners called it "Boris's blunder bus".

Darren Staples / Reuters
Boris Johnson holds up a Cornish pasty during the launch of the Vote Leave bus campaign, in favour of Britain leaving the European Union, in Truro

The term “Cornish pasty” was in 2011 given protected status by the European Commission to prevent cheap knock-offs being produced elsewhere in the country.

The stipulation means Cornish pasties can only be produced in Cornwall to a particular recipe that  includes “uncooked mince or chunks of beef with swede, potato and onion and a light seasoning".

James McGrory, chief campaign spokesman for the Stronger In campaign pushing for the UK to stay in the EU, said: “Were it not for the EU’s Protected Geographical Indication laws, our great Cornish pasties could be priced out by cheap pastiche pasties produced anywhere else in the world.

"For makers of iconic British produce like Cornish pasties, the EU keeps us stronger, safer and better off.

"Leaving and adopting the Leave campaigns’ pie-in-the-sky economic plans will hit our economy to the tune of £4,300 a year for the average family. We are all stronger on Europe, while leaving would be a leap in the dark.”

Cornish pasty makers were staying on the fence.

A statement from the Cornish Pasty Association, which led the campaign for protected status, said: “In terms of the protected status of the Cornish pasty in the event of Britain leaving the EU, the CPA’s understanding is that the EU does have a system where arrangements can be made with countries outside the EU, but the CPA is unable to comment further at this time about the potential outcome."

Darren Staples / Reuters

The 'In' campaign said the the £400,000 giant Vote Leave campaign bus would cost an extra £56,000 if Britain left the EU.

Under World Trade Organisation rules, a 13 per cent tariff on vehicles that transport 10 or more people would be added.

Production of the vehicle starts in Poland, before being finished off in Germany and distributed around the continent.