labelling (3)

France's DCGGRF has undertaken an investigation to determine whether meat producers are complying with traceability and labelling requirements. Pic: GettyImages/margouillatphotos

In April 2015, origin labelling became mandatory for fresh meat products in France.

Three years on, France’s Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) conducted an investigation into beef, sheep, pork, and poultry products in France, which has revealed more than 30% fail to comply with labelling and traceability requirements. 

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3708557211?profile=RESIZE_710xThe herbal products, sold worldwide as medicines or foods, are perceived as low risk because they are considered natural and thus safe. The quality of these products is ineffectively regulated and controlled. The growing evidence for their lack of authenticity is causing deep concern, but the scale of this phenomenon at the global, continental or national scale remains unknown.

Reserachers analysed data reporting the authenticity, as detected with DNA-based methods, of 5,957 commercial herbal products sold in 37 countries, distributed in all six inhabited continents. The global survey shows that a substantial proportion (27%) of the herbal products commercialized in the global marketplace is adulterated when their content was tested against their labeled, claimed ingredient species. The adulterated herbal products are distributed across all continents and regions. The proportion of adulterated products varies significantly among continents, being highest in Australia (79%), South America (67%), lower in Europe (47%), North America (33%), Africa (27%) and the lowest in Asia (23%).

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Chicken meat that has been removed from the bones by a machine must be labelled as ‘mechanically deboned’ under EU rules. However, this label pushes down the price of meat, holding back the competitiveness of the sector.

EU-funded project MEAQUAS aimed to boost the competitiveness of chicken meat produced in the EU with innovative tools to assess the quality of mechanically deboned meat. This will allow high quality mechanically deboned meat produced in the EU to be identified and compared to lower quality mechanically deboned meat which is often imported from outside the EU.

Project scientists have developed a new method to automatically analyse and grade the meat using novel staining markers that highlight muscular structures. The software then uses image processing algorithms to quantify the degree of degradation in the meat.

MEAQUAS’ technology quantifies the loss of structural integrity in the chicken meat, a key indicator of the meat’s quality and a way of proving that mechanically deboned meat is of the same quality as hand-removed meat.

MEAQUAS hopes that regulatory bodies will define criteria for different meat qualities using the results of the project’s measuring technology. Ultimately, quality screening will enable high quality mechanically deboned meat to be labelled simply as ‘chicken meat’, improving its market value.

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