“Lactalis has obtained from the Council of State the annulment of the decree making it compulsory to indicate the origin of milk on dairy products sold in France,” that is what Réussir Lait announced on March 16. Labeling of prepackaged dairy products sold in France was compulsory, on an experimental basis, since 1is January 2017. On March 11, 2021, the Council of State declared that the obligation under penalty of labeling of the origin of milk is illegal. It relies for this on the opinion of the European Court of Justice which had been seized of this subject. For the institution of the European Union, two conditions are necessary to maintain this obligation: that “the majority of consumers attach significant importance to this information” and that there is “a proven link between certain properties of a foodstuff. food and its origin or provenance ”. What the French state could not dismantle.
Read “Lactalis obtains the cancellation of the compulsory labeling of the origin of milk”
For the French dairy industry, this decision is “an unacceptable return” and Jérémy Decerle, MEP, breeder and former president of Young Farmers, informed Emmanuel Besnier, president of Lactalis, in an open letter dated March 24. .
In this letter, the MEP explains to the president of the industrial group “Why the approach of France to introduce compulsory labeling of the origin of milk was a little bit justified and in tune with the times. »
Here is the entire letter.
“Water has flowed under the bridges since my last letter to you in the midst of the milk crisis. Since then, I have certainly changed my hat but no convictions about the battles to be waged to defend the men and women who feed us and a certain model for our agriculture.
I therefore admit that your action having led, in mid-March, to a firm decision by the
Council of State to stop the innovative and avant-garde initiative of France to label the origin of milk, including when it is an ingredient in a preparation, remains difficult for me to understand and accept.
You are suggesting that because of this kind of measure, in France and in the other European countries having initiated the same process, you have divided your sales by three. I must say that I am reassured for you when I read, at the same time, that you are in the process of concluding a new market which is undoubtedly economically interesting and of “eating”, as certain media like to say, on the one hand one of your competitors.
You know it better than I do and you should be aware of it, labeling is not even just an opportunity for additional promotion for breeders but also, and more broadly, a strong demand from society, and therefore also from your customers. consumers. As a leader in your sector, it seems to me that you should be able to hear these expectations and be the one who sets an example vis-à-vis other operators in the sector. If some, even smaller than you, have found the resources to put this origin labeling in place, and even to turn it into a competitive advantage, it must not be entirely impossible for you.
Current trends for more information, therefore traceability, proximity and quality that can be found in the EGalim law in France, and in the new European Strategy for
Farm to Table, will lead you, as you know, to having to develop broader and more systematic labeling on your products. So why put a stop now to this trend in the air?
We are not going to remake history. Because of you, France will for the moment fall into line, even if this is done against the grain of societal demands and the interests of farmers. But thanks to you, will we also finally be able to give it the capacity to change the law in force? As a key player at the global level, I call on your responsibility to be among those who will push for the construction of harmonized and relevant regulations on origin labeling.
As far as I am concerned, rest assured that I am committed to this, and that I believe in the capacities of national and European public and political action to achieve this. I am convinced that today is the way to take so that the identification and valuation of the origin, for milk and for many agricultural products, finally becomes the norm rather than the exception, in the interest of all citizens, from upstream to downstream of the value chain. “
Jérémy Decerle says to himself ” ready to discuss it »With Emmanuel Besnier.