Origin of all meats in restaurants, the French lesson


Being able to know the origin of meats served in restaurants is a sacrosanct right of consumers. In France this right has already been recognized, in 2002, with regard to beef. It is now extended to include swine, sheep and poultry.

French lesson to Italic politicians ‘much smoke, no fire,’ to follow.

France, 2002. Beef origin at the restaurant

As early as 2002, the French government introduced a duty in public catering establishments to inform the public about the origin of beef. (1) To respond to the shared interest of consumers, breeders and producers beyond the Alps. Choosing homegrown products is simply logical because it means ensuring by one’s daily actions:

The survival of agricultural and livestock supply chains. Namely, food sovereignty and price stability,

fair income to farmers, who are the primary janitors of rural areas,

employment and induced income, GDP and BES (fair and sustainable welfare).

This is the condition for promoting the sustainability of production, in the direction of agroecology. The bio revolution can indeed save Europe, as shown by the eloquent study-not coincidentally, French-by IDDRI(Institut pour le Développement Durable et les Relations Internationales).

Otherwise, as has happened in Italy in recent years, the ‘price drug’ induces the restaurant industry to buy what costs less. Favoring meats that cost less, even if they are derived from animals grazed on Brazilian or Argentine forests devastated precisely to provide food commodities such as the meats themselves and GMO soy.

France, 2019. Restaurant origin extended to all meats

On 11/18/19 France notified Brussels of a new draft regulation on the origin of meat in restaurants. (2) The draft decree-drafted by the Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF)-amends the 2002 decree. With the aim of extending the labeling requirement in food service establishments to meat from pork, sheep and poultry species.

Therefore, caterers are required to inform their patrons of the country(ies) of raising and slaughtering of pigs, sheep and poultry from which the meat served is derived. Therefore, referring to the information already provided as mandatory on the label – including in relation to the meat of these animals – thanks to Regulation (EU) 1337/2013. (3)

An indispensable measure to protect French consumers, but also to protect poultry and pork supply chains. All the more necessary after the European Commission-in the demented treaty with the Mercosur countries-allowed the import of 160 thousand tons of poultry meat (in addition to 90 thousand tons of beef) duty-free.

Origin of meat in restaurants, EU rules and regulatory loopholes

The European legisl ature has reserved for concurrent national legislation the regulation of information to be provided to consumers on:

foods served by communities. That is, in bars, diners and eateries, restaurants, fast-food restaurants, canteens (corporate, hospital, school, and sports or tourist facilities), hotels, and catering establishments,

Foods sold in bulk and pre-wrapped.

Member states can therefore safeguard consumers and production chains by introducing special regulations, applicable to their respective territories, requiring the origin of meat served by communities to be indicated. Indeed, the Italia Zootecnia Consortium has already forwarded and urged such a proposal to the three successive ministers of agricultural policies in recent years. (4)

The most serious shortcomings in the applicable European legislation to date are the exclusion from the enhanced traceability and mandatory labeling regime of:

Equine, quail and game meats. (5) This is particularly serious for horse meat, which can thus also be imported from the U.S.-with all the dangers associated with the use of drugs that are banned in Europe-without consumers having even the slightest idea,

– Meat preparations and products . European legislators always prioritize the interests of Big Food over those of consumers. Thus it is enough to add flavorings or spices and salt to overseas meats to hide their origin and provenance.

New horizons in the EU and Italy

is the brilliant initiative of 1.1 million European citizens. Which obliges the European Commission to adopt a proposal for a regulation requiring – on the labels of all foods placed on the internal market – the indication of:

origin of the product. That is, ‘Made in…,’ the country where the food underwent their last substantial and economically relevant processing,

Origin and/or source of the main ingredients. Needed to distinguish what comes from a short supply chain from the fruits of mercantilism.

In Italy, ‘tanto fumo niente arrosto‘. In spite of a series of decrees that are worth waste paper – as they have not been notified to Brussels – nothing useful has been done. No origin of meats nor citrus fruits and vegetables in public establishments, to name a couple of opportunities to revitalize national supply chains.

Rumor has it that Coldiretti’s deus ex-machina is finalizing the text of a decree aimed at introducing on the label the origin of meat used as an ingredient in other products. We hope that at least he also remembers the restaurant menus, and especially the dutiful notification to Brussels. Since-beyond following his orders-Italic politics of all colors is incapable of expressing any initiative.

Meanwhile, in France, it is the same GDO that promotes valuable and simple information about the share of local ingredients in processed foods, thanks to the ‘Franco-score’ logo that specifies the percentage.

Dario Dongo


(1) Decree 17.12.02 (No. 2002-1465), ritually notified by France in the TRIS(Technical Regulation Information System) system, then under dir. 1998/48/EC. Notification: 2002/73/F

(2) Draft decree notified on 18.11.19 by France to the European Commission under the TRIS system, now under Directive 2015/1535/EC. Notification 2019/0564/F

(3) See reg. EU 1337/13, ‘Establishing detailed rules for the implementation of Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the indication of the country of origin or place of provenance of fresh, chilled or frozen meat of swine, sheep, goats and poultry

(4) Maurizio Martina, Gian Marco Centinaio, and Teresa Bellanova are the names of the stone guests. The Consortium proposed to them a simple but effective regulatory scheme, drafted by this writer as a friendship and support for the cause, but without receiving any concrete feedback. See previous article Origin of beef in restaurants, the draft decree law of the L’Italia Zootechnica Consortium. Detailed analysis

(5) See reg. EU 1169/11 and reg. EU 1337/13