recipe changes are permitted for egg or poultry products

To address “supply pressures” on certain egg- or poultry-based ingredients in the context of an avian flu outbreak, the state will allow the food industry to temporarily change the recipes of certain off-label products that will not mention it immediately, according to a statement released Monday.

“The bird flu epidemic raging in France since November 2021 affects the supply to the food industry for the production of certain foods produced from eggs or egg products” (products derived from an egg component), “or ingredients from poultry meat’, such as duck fat, explains the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) in a press release.

When the claims “non-GMO”, “from organic farming”, “raised without antibiotic treatment”, “raised outdoors” or “origin France” are not respected, the information must be “expressly” on the package by adding a label or as hide the relevant mention, for example.

On the other hand, when an express mention is not possible for a product benefiting from a derogation, a simple mention “DEROG” will be registered. For example, in a product such as duck rillettes, the state allows the replacement of “part of the duck meat and/or fat” with “chicken meat and/or fat”, provided, however, that the final product “contains a minimum of 40% duck meat and 20% duck fat”, specified by GDBOP.

New recipes but validated by Fraud Control

The virus, which has led to the culling of more than 19 million poultry in recent months, has also affected the upstream poultry sectors that supply chickens and ducklings, making it more difficult to return to production. Due to these tensions, “some manufacturers are forced to make changes to the composition for a period of time incompatible with the printing of new packages” and therefore the authorities decided to “guarantee the continuity of the supply of the relevant products” to grant “temporary derogations from certain obligations for labelling’.

If the professional wishes to change their prescription, they must have it validated by Fraud Prevention, which will grant them an exemption for a maximum period of three months, provided the change does not endanger consumer safety and that the supply difficulties are “demonstrated and significant”.

The state has already allowed manufacturers in recent months to temporarily change the composition of some food and cosmetic products using sunflower oil to meet supply constraints due to the war in Ukraine, the world’s biggest exporter of sunflower oil.

The Fraud Repression site’s space listing recipe changes had nearly 4,500 affected references as of Monday afternoon: for example chips, gnocchi, sauces, processed products, prepared fish or desserts. Sunflower is also present in many products, such as chocolates, in the form of lecithin, an additive.

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