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Star ratings for supermarket meat

Dozens of names for different cuts of meat can now be replaced by 'steak' or 'rôti' with a star rating

A NEW labelling system for supermarket fresh meat comes into force this weekend - which will see cuts of meat graded from one star to three.

The new grades are part of an overhaul of meat labelling approved by the economy ministry this summer, which aim to make packaging "simpler and more understandable".

It follows a consultation between meat producers and France's anti-fraud and consumer welfare watchdog, DGCCRF.

A broad range of precise terms referring to the part of the animal - such as poire, rond-de-gîte or entame du tende de tranche - will give way to more generic terms such as "steak" or "rôti", accompanied by a star ranking.

Three stars denote the parts that produce the best quality meat, with one star for the less desirable cuts.

Labels will also suggest the ideal cooking method for that type of meat - whether it's a few minutes of frying for a rare steak, or many hours in a slow-cooker.

Christian Le Lann, président of the Confédération Française de la Boucherie, told France Info that the new naming system was an attack on "France's gastronomic heritage".

The move, which took effect this Saturday, is optional for supermarkets - who could still choose to describe a cut of meat by its precise name.

Artisan butchers are also free to continue naming cuts more precisely, and they are planning a promotional campaign in January to set them apart from this new supermarket system.

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