France introduces ‘home made’ label for restaurants
France has introduced a new “homemade” label for chefs cooking meals from scratch, because microwaved or pre-packaged dishes had become more common.
A decree published Sunday 13 July 2014 in the French Government’s Official Journal stated that, starting Tuesday 15 July 2014, French restaurants will be able to hang up a “homemade” logo if the in-house chef makes everything, or next to specific dishes on the menu. It has been reported that the move has come in response to concerns that the country’s prized gastronomic reputation was being damaged by substandard eateries as many restaurants serve boil-in-a-bag or microwaved ready meals as restaurant-quality cuisine.
What qualifies as ‘homemade’
Section 10a of the decree defines ‘homemade’ as “food which has not undergone any significant changes, including heating, pickling, assembly or combination of these methods”.
It says a ‘homemade’ dish is one made on the premises of the institution in which it is offered for sale or consumption. A dish can only be produced outside of the restaurant when it is for sale at fairs, markets, outdoor events and street vending.
The decree says raw products that have already been frozen, refrigerated, cut up, ground, smoked, or peeled by the time they are delivered to the restaurant, apart from potatoes, qualify for the distinction.
Frozen chips do not qualify for the label. This means that frozen chip products used by fast-food restaurants will not be considered homemade. Nor will sauces that arrive ready-made.
Exceptions are made for some prepared products such as bread, pasta, cheese and wine.