Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Where's the Beef (From)?

Reading about the huge amount of beef that's been recalled in the U.S. made me realize that I hadn't written about food labelling in France. From the perspective of nutrition, USDA food labelling is much better than what you get here. You rarely find a breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, and other nutrients, and when you do, the amount might be listed but without a context such as the share of a recommended daily allowance.

But if you want to know where your steak came from, the French win hands down. Every piece of meat is labeled with its country of origin and the slaughterhouse. Beef is further identified as being from a beef or dairy cow. Each egg is actually labelled to indicate where it came from as well. From a little Googling, I gather that concern about mad cow disease prompted these requirements and some are imposed by the European Union. Now if I could just figure out the various French cuts of beef! (What the heck is the difference between a faux filet, a bavette, and a surloigne?!)

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