Section C: New labelling rules on the marketing of meat of bovine animals aged 12 months or less
1. How should you categorise meat of bovine animals aged 12 months or less?
On slaughter, all bovine animals aged 12 months or less must be categorised into one of the following 2 categories:
- category V: bovine animals aged 8 months or less i.e. bovines from the day of birth until they reach the age of 8 months (ctegory identification letter "V")
- category Z: bovine animals aged more than 8 months but not more than 12 months ie bovines from the day after reaching the age of 8 months until the day they reach the age of 12 months (ctegory identification letter "Z")
Category "Z" includes fast growing young bulls reared under a normal beef finishing system that reach slaughter weight at less than 12 months of age as well as calves formerly reared to 8 months and over under a rosé veal system.
The categorisation must be carried out on the basis of the information contained in the passport accompanying the bovine animals, or failing this, on the basis of the data contained in the Cattle Tracing System (CTS). The category identification letters must be placed immediately after slaughter and must be indicated on the outside surface of the carcase by using labels or stamps. The labels must be of a size not less than 50cm² and in cases where stamps are used, the letter shall be not less than two centimetres in height. The labels or stamps must be applied on the hindquarters on the striploin at the level of the fourth lumbar vertebra and on the forequarters, on the brisket between 10 and 30 centimetres from the cut edge of the sternum.
2. What labelling/sales descriptions should be applied?
The meat of bovine animals aged 12 months or less can only be marketed in the Member States under the compulsory sales description(s) as listed in the EU legislation. The sales description may be supplemented by an indication of the name or designation of the pieces of meat or offal concerned, if required.
For meat marketed in the UK the following sales descriptions apply:
- meat from animals slaughtered aged 8 months or less must be described as " veal"
- meat from animals aged more that 8 months but not more than 12 months must be described as " beef"
The sales descriptions vary between Member States. These are laid down in the relevant EU legislation, see Annex X1a to Regulation (EC) No. 1234/2007 as amended (previously Annex II of Council Regulation (EC) No. 700/2007).
At each stage of production and marketing, the meat must be labelled with the following information:
The age of the animals on slaughter using the wording:
- "age on slaughter: up to 8 months" in the case of animals aged 8 months or less
- "age on slaughter: from 8-12 months" in the case of animals aged more than 8 months but not more than 12 months
However, operators may at each stage of production and marketing, except on release to the final consumer, replace the wording above with the category identification letter (V or Z).
The relevant minimum sales descriptions as laid down for the UK in Annex Xia of Regulation (EC) No. 1234/2007 as amended (previously Annex II of Council Regulation (EC) No. 700/2007).
The indications of the age of the bovine animal on slaughter and the sales descriptions must be:
- clearly legible at each stage of production and marketing
- presented in the same visual field and on the same label at the point of sale of the meat to the final consumer
3. Can I mix batches of offal from bovines aged 12 months or less?
Mixing batches of offal is permitted provided that they are appropriately labelled. If the mixture includes offal from bovines of less than 8 months and of bovines between 8 and 12 months, both sales descriptions and age brackets should be shown on the label. The age brackets may be replaced by the corresponding category identification letter V or Z at each stage of production and marketing, except on release to the final consumer.
The use of the wording "calves liver" as a supplement to the sales description is acceptable in the case of liver from bovines aged less than 8 months (Category V). However, use of the wording "calves liver" should not be used in the case of bovines from 8 to 12 months (Category Z) in the UK because we have designated any meat of 8 months and above as "beef", and calling it "calves liver" could cause confusion among customers.
4. Can the meat of bovines aged up to 8 months and that of 8-12 months be mixed?
With the exception of offal, mixing of meat of different categories is not permitted, as the purpose of the Regulation is to separate the two types of meat by age. There is no requirement in the Regulation for physical separation of, for example, labelled boned out meat in chillers.
5. Can supplementary information be applied to my labelling?
Under the new Regulation, operators are permitted to supplement the compulsory descriptions "veal" (Category V) or "beef" (Category Z) on the label with optional information approved in accordance with the procedure laid down in Articles 16 or 17 of Regulation ( EC) No. 1760/2000 (under the provisions of the voluntary Beef Labelling Scheme). Operators may therefore apply under the voluntary scheme to use supplementary descriptions which, for example, refer to the manner in which the calves are reared in relation to their feeding and housing conditions, in order to produce welfare friendly veal or beef.
6. Can I use the term Rosé veal?
Producers and sellers of veal (Category V) are not permitted to label their product as "rosé veal". The term "rosé veal" appears in Annex XIa III 2(B) of Council Regulation 1234/2007 (as amended) for use with Category Z animals only and may only be used in this way in the Member States that have decided to do so. We have chosen to use the term "beef" to apply to Category Z animals.
7. Use of two or more descriptions
The sales description applicable for the Member State in which the meat is marketed needs to be put on the label. It is possible for the meat to have two or more different labels on it at the same time covering the sales descriptions in different Member States.
8. What are the recording obligations for operators?
At slaughterhouse level, operators must record an indication of the identification number and the date of birth of the animals.