Starting January 1, 2017, the labeling of the origin of milk in dairy products and of meat in ready prepared meat products in France is required on the products. This measure is a trial experiment that will be in place for two years, and will later be reviewed by the Commission of the EU to see if it could be applied at the EU-level.

The implementation of this label will be required for all products that contain equal to or more than 8% meat ingredients or 50% milk ingredients (whole, semi-skim, and skim milk; butter; cream; yogurt; and cheese).

From January 1, consumers will thus see new labels appear on these products’ packaging that indicates the country of birth, raising, and slaughter of animals for meat products or the country of collection for dairy products, as well as the place of packaging and processing for milk. When all of these steps occurred in one single country, the label “Origin (name of country)” can be used.

Concretely, starting at the beginning of 2017, a frozen burger, a prepared plate of lentils with sausage, yogurts or cheeses produced in France will be required to carry this label. The law provides for a delay until March 31, however, for already labelled products in order to avoid the unnecessary waste of perfectly good food.

This is a major opportunity to recognize and increase knowledge about the quality of agricultural products in France, and a concrete advancement in providing more information to consumers so that they can make an informed decision when making purchasing decisions.

This brings the dairy and meat industries to the same standards that are already used for fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, and honey products. A program started in 2014, called “Meats of France” guarantees accurate information on the origin and traceability of French meat products sold in France, in order to provide more value to French meat products to consumers.