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Backlash Against France's 'Homemade' Label Begins

Photo: mdliedefluence/Flickr

Restaurant professionals are now up in arms over the details of France's recently approved "fait maison" or "house-made" menu labeling laws. Earlier this week it was announced that restaurants can place a government-sanctioned logo next to menu items that are made in-house. The measure was created to "reign in on the amount of processed foods [that are] being used, and to preserve France's high gastronomical standing." According to France 24, the "long list of exemptions and the extensive definition" of what can count as "homemade" means the label could be applied to "both freshly cooked cuisine and meals made partly [out of ingredients processed in] industrial kitchens."

Restaurants are allowed to label dishes as "homemade" even if the raw products have been "frozen, refrigerated, cut up, ground, smoked, or peeled" by the time they are delivered to the restaurant. This has upset many in the industry: Chef Jean Terlon tells the news site, "I do artisanal cooking. When I create a dish with vegetables, I clean them, peel them, and cook them. But a chef who uses canned vegetables will qualify for the same 'homemade' label if he simply heats them or adds a sauce." Others add that the label is confusing because it still allows restaurants to label dishes as "homemade' when its not cooked in-house. Earlier this week, French food critic JP Géné pointed out that most of all the many allowances that the new rule makes undermines "one of the central goals of the reform."

· Homemade' Cuisine Logo Cooks up a Storm [France 24]
· French Restaurants to Label Dishes Made In-House [-E-]
· All France Coverage on Eater [-E-]