Meat origin in restaurants and in public establishments, the proposal for a decree-law of the Consorzio Italia Zootecnica is today launched together with the Padua Charter. An innovative project to enhance the miracle of Italian animal husbandry 4.0, in the name of full transparency on the registry and animal welfare, breeding conditions, food safety.
Meat origin in the supermarket
The bovine livestock sector in Italy has made great strides over the past two decades. Thanks to a crisis, that of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which has not affected the Italian meat production but has actually forced operators to make enormous efforts to ensure complete traceability, from stable to table. (1) That is, from the birth of animals to the products derived from them.
European consumers can thus know the origin of the meat for sale, expressed in terms of country of birth, country of breeding and country of slaughter. Or in a single expression - 'Origin', followed by the name of the State - if the aforementioned transactions took place in a single national territory.
Meat origin at the restaurant, the decree-law
The rules of origin however they do not extend to meat preparations such as hamburger, made with the addition of other ingredients, eg. vegetable fibers, (2) natural flavors, spices, salt. Nor, unfortunately, to meat-based foods prepared in public establishments. Which restaurants and taverns, canteens, (3) fast food and take-away. Although meals away from home now represent about half of total consumption. (4)
Consumer confidence in relation to meat, moreover, it has dropped drastically over the last few years due to international scandals originating elsewhere. We refer to the cd horsegate, the scandal of horse meat passed off as cattle and also used by Big food in various compound foods (such as frozen burgers and lasagna). And the Brazilian meat crisis, which has flared up in recent months with a European alert kept under control by our Ministry of Health.
It is therefore necessary and urgent to restore the confidence of Italian consumers in the Made in Italy meat production chain. Since the Italian animal husbandry has dedicated huge resources, in recent decades, on the various fronts of:
- animal welfare, air conditioning of the stables, treatment of animals, correct use of antibiotics and veterinary drugs,
- food safety. This is confirmed by the extraneousness of the various crises recorded in the European alert system (including those related to dioxin contamination). But also in the positive results of the monitoring plans on drug residues,
- traceability and computerized registration both personal data and those relating to the treatments and movement of animals. The Italian miracle is represented by an unparalleled animal registry in the world, which covers 6 million heads and allows the public veterinary system to monitor any relevant information for the above-mentioned superior purposes.
The example of France
The solution is at hand, and follows the positive example of France. Which since 2002 has introduced a system of traceability of the origin of meat extended to collective catering, with the obligation to inform consumers. (5) France has pursued this path of transparency, introducing in 2016 the obligation to indicate the origin of the meat used as ingredients of other food products (eg meat preparations, cured meats, sauces). (6)
The proposed decree-law on the origin of meat in restaurants, developed by the writer on behalf of the Consorzio Italia Zootecnica, defines the obligation for the community to guarantee the traceability of the origin of the meat used as food ingredients, and the duty to inform consumers in this regard . In menus or other information tools, in characters no smaller than those used to name the foods themselves. So that consumers in Italy can make truly informed choices.
The text of the legislative draft is attached. It is hoped that it will gather the immediate support of the Minister for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Maurizio Martina. And the Minister for Health, Beatrice Lorenzin.
(1) reg. CE 1760/00 and subsequent amendments, reg. CE 1825/00
(2) The nature of vegetable fibers, please note, must among other things be specified (as many neglect to do)
(3) Eg school, company, hospital canteens
(4) Source Eurostat
(5) Décret n ° 2002-1465 of 17 December 2002 relating to the étiquetage des viandes bovines dans les établissements de restauration
(6) Italy too has moved, we recall, with the milk origin decree. But she has not yet dealt with the meats, which still deserve attention