The origin of beef is made transparent, thus maintaining a high level of public health protection.
The regulations on beef labeling are intended to contribute to complete proof of origin for cattle from the barn to the store counter, thus ensuring greater transparency and safety. Since 01.09.2000, various indications have been mandatory throughout the EU.
Market participants and organizations marketing beef in the European Community must provide this with mandatory information and can also provide additional voluntary information. This ensures that a link can be made between the individual animal or group of animals and the carcasses or cuts of meat.
The beef label must contain the following mandatory information:
- Reference number/reference code ensuring the link between the meat and the animal.
- approval number of the slaughterhouse and Member State or third country where the slaughterhouse is located
- approval number of the cutting plant and Member State or third country where the cutting plant is located
- all Member States or third countries where the animal was born, fattened and slaughtered. If birth, rearing and slaughter took place in the same Member State or third country, the indication 'Origin: (name of the Member State or third country)' may read.
- the Member State or third country where the cutting took place.
Special or more extensive regulations exist for the labeling of ground beef and meat trimmings as well as for veal and young beef.
In addition, further voluntary information is possible, e.g. on category (young bull, heifer, steer ...), feeding or husbandry conditions, breed, quality characteristics.
The label must be attached to the meat or packaging. In the case of non-prepackaged products, appropriate information must be provided in writing and clearly visible to the consumer at the point of sale.
The Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food (BLE) is responsible for checking the mandatory information. The district administrative authorities are further responsible for the control of the voluntary indications with regard to the general regulations of food labeling (especially protection against deception).