The European Commission has agreed in principle for France to test out labels indicating the origin of meat and milk in processed foods.
The measure is viewed as a means of supporting French agriculture and promoting ‘made in France’ products, as well as addressing food safety issues in the wake of the so-called ‘horsegate’ scandal in parts of Europe in 2013.
Speaking to just-food, a spokesperson for the French Ministry of Agriculture confirmed comments made by Agriculture Minister, Stéphane Le Foll, who said the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaïtis, had approved “the principle of a year-long test … which is very important because if we are to take a measure in France it needs to be in conformity at European level otherwise it will be rejected by the (French) Council of State”.
Le Foll claimed Spain, Italy, Portugal and the UK supported the idea of food origin labels.
However, Germany was only in favour of highlighting in which country an animal was slaughtered.
The spokesperson went on to underline that, while France had obtained the tacit approval of the Commission, it was waiting for written confirmation allowing it to go ahead with the test phase.
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“Until we have this [written confirmation] to try out the labels – but we don’t think it’s a question of months – we can’t really comment on how testing will be carried out, what comes after it and the timeframe for going live with them.”