Origin marking: New specifications from Paris
Origin marking

New specifications from Paris

Imago / PanoramiC
French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace.
French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace.

FRANCE, Paris. In France, the government has now launched the long-awaited extension of mandatory labeling for the origin of meat. The German organization ISN reacted to the French decree and criticized the German government in Berlin.

According to a decree published Jan. 27, as of March 1, the origin of fresh or frozen pork, poultry and sheep meat must be indicated in out-of-home catering; until now, this has only been the case for beef. The country of rearing and slaughter must be indicated. Processed or already cooked goods are not affected by the new regulations. The new requirements will initially apply until February 29, 2024; by then, France wants to have achieved the most uniform European regulations possible.

French Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie explained that knowing the origin of products is the first step to changing purchasing behavior in out-of-home catering and especially in canteens. According to the minister, more than half of the meat consumed in school cafeterias is currently imported. As expected, the act was welcomed in the agricultural profession. The French Farmers' Federation (FNSEA) and the Young Farmers' Organization (JA) spoke of a "big step" to promote domestic production. They said the new labeling requirement would meet the shared expectations of farmers and consumers.

Germany should follow suit

In Germany, the German organization Interessengemeinschaft der Schweinehalter (ISN) took the French decree as an opportunity to criticize the German government. Instead of implementing origin labeling at the same time as the planned introduction of a husbandry label for animal products, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is pushing the goal announced in the coalition agreement in the direction of Brussels with reference to EU legal issues, the association complained. A national solution is therefore still being waited for, although origin labeling in particular is crucial to maintaining pig farming in Germany. "The renewed coordination processes at the European level will take time - we do not have the time," emphasized ISN managing director Dr. Torsten Staack. France shows that a national solution is possible if the necessary political will is present. "We expect Germany to take on this responsibility in the same way," the ISN managing director emphasized.

Further decree in the works

According to FNSEA and JA, around 60% of the poultry meat consumed in the catering industry in France is imported; in the case of chicken meat, even more than 80% comes from foreign production. FNSEA and JA are now pushing for the labeling requirement to be quickly extended to include processed meat and honey, as well as for the regulations governing the display of the French flag on food products and the use of designations normally reserved for animal products to be quickly revised. According to media reports, a decree regarding the indication of the origin of meat in processed products is already in the "final stages." The extension of the labeling requirement had long been expected. The legal foundations had already come into force in previous years; since 2017, the Paris government had been working on implementation in consultation with the stakeholders involved.

Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE

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