To deal with “supply tensions” of certain egg- or poultry-based ingredients, related to a bird flu epidemic, the state will allow the agri-food industry to temporarily change the recipes of certain products without labels, will not immediately name it, according to a statement released Monday.
“The bird flu epidemic that has raged in France since November 2021 is affecting the supply of the food industry for the production of certain foods made from eggs or egg products” (products made from a component of the egg), “or ingredients from poultry” such as duck fat, explains the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Combating Fraud (DGCCRF) in a press release.
When the indications “without GMO”, “from organic farming”, “raised without antibiotic treatment”, “raised in the open” or “origin France” are not respected, the information must be “explicit” on the packaging by adding a label or by hide the mention in question, e.g.
On the other hand, when the explicit mention is not possible on a product covered by a dispensation, a simple mention “THEREFORE” will be registered. In a product such as anderillette allows the state, for example replacing “part of the duck meat and/or fat” with the “chicken meat and/or fat”, but with the proviso that the final product “contains at least 40% duck meat and 20% duck fat”, the DGCCRF details.
New recipes, but validated by Fraud Control
The virus, which has led to the slaughter of more than 19 million poultry in recent months, has also affected the upstream poultry sectors that supply chicks and ducklings, making it harder to get back into production. Due to these tensions, “some manufacturers are forced to make changes to the composition within a time frame incompatible with printing new packaging”, and the authorities have therefore decided “to guarantee the continuity of the supply of the products in question” for to provide “temporary exemptions from certain labeling obligations”.
If the professional wishes to change his recipe, he must have it validated by Fraud Prevention, which will grant him an exemption for a maximum period of three months, provided that the change does not endanger the safety of consumers and that the supply difficulties are “proven and substantial” .
The state had already in recent months authorized manufacturers to temporarily change the composition of certain food and cosmetic products using sunflower oil to respond to supply difficulties due to the war in Ukraine, the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil.
The area of the Fraud Repression website showing the recipe changes had nearly 4,500 affected references as of Monday afternoon: chips, gnocchi, sauces, processed products, prepared fish or desserts. Sunflower is also present in many products, such as chocolate, in the form of lecithin, an additive.