French meat producers found to not abide by labeling requirements

15 Sep 2020

More than one-third of French meat producers are not complying with meat labeling and traceability requirements, according to an investigation by the country’s Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF).

The regulatory compliance body analyzed 2,150 beef, sheep, pork and poultry products from 1,926 meat processing establishments, including butchers processing plants and breeders, and found ‘anomalies.’ In response to these findings the government issued warnings, injunctions or filed reports for 40% of the facilities it inspected.

French meat producers found to not abide by labeling requirements

One major inconsistency found through this investigation is the ‘Francization’ of products, meaning that the labels insinuate that products are of French origin when it is not the case. Labels indication regionally origin and quality were also deemed to be problematic. On the other side of the coin, the investigation found that an absence of origin labels was frequent, especially for veal.

On the retail side of meat production, there were issues related to traceability management software. The consistency of batches and labeling information experienced entry errors and in certain cases staff was not trained in how to operate this traceability software.

The DGCCRF will perform a review check on these operations within the year.

Origin labeling became a requirement in France in 2015 following a horsemeat scandal two years earlier. More stringent labeling requirements to regulate food quality have lately become front and center in consumers’ minds and the EU-wide implemented a blanket rollout of labeling requirements that denote product origin. However, violations of these labeling requirements that have the ability to mislead consumers have continued. To rectify this ongoing situation, the European Union implemented new rules that took effect on April 1 of this year to require supply chain mapping and more explicitly define the parameters surrounding labeling.

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