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Brussels, 28 December 2001

New beef labelling rules more information for consumers from 1 January 2002.

From January 1, 2002, the rules for compulsory beef labelling will be tightened. In order to give the consumers more detailed information on the beef they are buying. Compared to the existing legislation, the beef label will now have to include in addition to the place of fattening, slaughtering and cutting also precise information about where the animal was born and reared. Commenting on the new rules, Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, declared: "This marks an important step in enabling full traceability of cattle in the EU. The new labelling rules shall also contribute to further restore the consumer's confidence in beef." David Byrne, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection stated: "Consumers now have the guarantee of the origin of beef from the farm to a supermarket or a butcher shop. This contributes to consumer choice and confidence."

From January 2002, the label has to contain the following indications:

  • an indication of the Member State or third country of birth

  • an indication of all Member States or third countries where fattening took place

  • a reference number ensuring the link between the meat and the animal or animals

  • "Slaughtered in: (name of the Member State or third country) (approval number of the slaughterhouse)"

  • "Cutting in: (name of the Member State or third country) (approval number of the cutting plant)"

Where the beef is derived from animals born, raised and slaughtered

  • in the same Member State, the indication may be given as: "Origin: (name of Member State)"

  • in the same third country, the indication may be given as "Origin: (name of third country)"

For minced beef the label must contain:

  • traceability code

  • member state of slaughter

  • member state of preparation

  • the member state or member states of origin, if they are different from the member state of preparation.

After receiving permission from Member State authorities, operators are free to decide to give further information, such as the indication of the meat categories.

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