METRO calls for digital solutions for better consumer information
In the coalition agreement of 2021, the German Federal Government announced its intention to introduce a new legislative framework for animal husbandry and the origin labelling for food. METRO welcomes the push for greater transparency and is advocating harmonised digital standards across the supply chain.
On Tuesday, 7 June, the second METRO Kitchen Talk took place in Berlin at Kaffeehaus Dallmayr. Together with the experts Britta Gallus of METRO Corporate Responsibility and Julia Stein, Head of Dallmayr’s Representative Office in Berlin, as well as employees of members of the German Bundestag, solutions for transparent traceability with regard to animal welfare and origin were discussed. It was pointed out that labelling in restaurants is not the same as labelling in retail since the information on food packaging is not visible to the guests at the establishment. In France, an obligation to label the origin of meat in restaurants has already been in force for a few weeks. Since there was no preparation time, restaurateurs now have to manually write origin information on their menus and renew it after each purchase. In times of inflation and staff shortages, any additional burden is a tremendous challenge.
Policymakers and the HoReCa sector must jointly create a framework to provide consumers with transparent information on the husbandry and origin of animal products without further burdening small businesses. Already today, the barcodes on the packaging of fish and fresh meat products can be scanned to obtain information on their origin. One possible solution for restaurants is QR codes on the menu that take guests to a website with the desired information on the origin and husbandry of the products.
Coinciding with our Kitchen Talk, a press conference was held in the morning by Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir, in which he presented the key points of the Federal Government’s new animal husbandry labelling scheme. Mandatory labelling will be introduced for fresh pork in retail outlets. However, the new requirement for labelling will only apply to meat produced in Germany. Restaurant businesses and out-of-home catering are also to be included in the scope of application in the medium term. Until then, the appropriate conditions must be created so that an expansion of the scope of application can succeed.