THERE’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth this week after the humble Dundee cake was dragged into the ever more ridiculous and tedious culture wars.

To be fair, the gnashing of teeth was probably caused more by actually eating the traditional fruit cake as it is very easy to get almonds stuck there while having a munch.

But, to some keyboard warriors, the cake has become a victim of blatant anti-Scottish bias by the UK Government after a bid to make it a protected food was rejected.

Makers of the sweet treat were refused Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs because the name is “too generic”.

If granted, it would have made it mandatory for at least one step of the production process to take place in Dundee.

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The almond-topped fruit cake is said to have originated from marmalade makers Keiller’s, who flavoured it with leftover orange peels.

According to documents submitted by the Baker Trade Committee, the cake is being “inextricably linked to the city of Dundee and its history and heritage.”

It added: “The city’s bakers today have come together to ensure that the original quality and ingredients for Dundee Cake are maintained, safeguarding our heritage and its link to the city, protected.”

But a notice published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs states that stated it has been concluded “the name Dundee Cake is generic”.

Officials added: “The Secretary of State therefore considers that the conditions for registration of Dundee Cake as a Protected Geographical Indication are not fulfilled, the application does not meet the requirements of the Regulation and must be rejected.” it added.

The Baker Trade Committee has until the end of May to appeal the decision.

The decision, while not a surprise, has caused a bit of a stooshie in the City of Discovery and beyond with nationalist extremists positively choking on their cakes at the outrage of it all.

But, on the face it, the decision is the correct one as it does not meet the criteria of a very strict set of rules that were brought in for extremely good reasons.

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Products with PGI status include Champagne, Parma ham and Roquefort cheese, to name but a few.

In Scotland, the status has been bestowed on whisky, salmon, Stornoway black pudding, Orkney cheddar and Arbroath smokies, amongst others.

This means that no manufacturers anywhere in the world can pass off their products as being something they are not.

Anyone can put fizz in a bottle of white wine and call it Champagne but it can cause untold commercial damage to the real stuff, hence why the whole system was set up.

But there are numerous examples of some people trying to take things too far by trying to protect things that don’t merit it at all.

For example, there are some folk in the north-east who believe the buttery, or rowie, should be protected.

However, in reality nobody from outwith Aberdeenshire really knows what they are so it’s pointless protecting it as nobody will ever try to pass one off as something it’s not.

No baker in Lisbon, Adelaide or Barcelona has ever thought the lard infused rolls will ever catch on. 

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Just because generations of north-east folk can vouch for its ability to cure a hangover doesn’t mean they will suddenly see a surge in global demand.

Many items are generic now that had their origins somewhere but became widely available over time.

Examples that spring to mind are Wiltshire ham, Ayrshire bacon and Eccles cakes. Dundee cake clearly falls into this category too, regardless what the critics say.

To qualify for protected status, there surely has to be an expectation that something comes from the place mentioned in its title. After all, you don’t have to be standing in Sauchiehall Street to be the recipient of a Glasgow kiss. Nor does it have to be administered by a Glaswegian. It is now just a generic term for a headbutt.

Likewise, if you book a French polisher to give your table a good shine, you don’t expect them to be based in Paris or Marseille.

In the simplest of terms, when you order a sandwich, you want something tasty between two slices of bread, you don't expect it to me made in the seaside town on the Kent coast.   

Perhaps the most important thing that is illustrated by the Dundee cake decision is that if too many things are protected then the whole system becomes pointless and vital products that are regularly copied could suffer serious commercial damage.

Refusing Dundee cake’s application was simply the right decision and no political or cultural point should be made about it.

Just sit back, cut yourself a slice and go easy on the almonds.