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Labelling in the meat industry


Cabinet passes Animal Welfare Labeling Act - what you need to know | 06/02/2020

There are legal standards and various labels and seals that provide information on animal welfare for keeping animals. The aim of the BMEL (Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture) is to make Germany a pioneer when it comes to animal welfare. The animal welfare label is intended to make it clear to consumers which products represent better animal welfare.

Consistent labeling of products with the type of husbandry seal enables consumers to get a better overview and better assess and classify the welfare of the animal - from less to more.

The federal cabinet has already passed the draft law for the introduction and use of an animal welfare label. In February 2019, the first planned animal welfare label for pigs was presented - other animal species are planned. The labeling concepts are based on scientific criteria and practical experience, for example from the animal welfare industry initiative.

In order to position yourself as a pioneer in the market as a manufacturer in the meat industry, it is necessary to implement the labeling requirements at an early stage.

Animal welfare labels and seals - all information about the type of husbandry at a glance

The animal welfare industry initiative has already established that food in the meat industry is labeled with the type of husbandry, in order to provide consumers with more transparency about animal welfare and origin. Labeling with the type of housing is already required and implemented by some supermarkets, such as Aldi, Aldi Süd, Edeka, Kaufland, Lidl, Netto, Penny and Rewe.

Consumers are also demanding more transparency with regard to animal husbandry when choosing their food. Based on different criteria, such as space, housing, occupation and feeding, the respective housing type is assigned from 1 to 4. The minimum requirements for achieving the seal differ depending on the type of fattening such as broiler fattening, turkey fattening, pig fattening, dairy farming or beef fattening.

The consumer has the option of recognizing the conditions under which the animals were raised by means of the housing type seal.

The “Posture Form” seal at a glance

The classifications listed here for the respective type of husbandry correspond to the status of March 2020. The requirements are revised at regular intervals.

The easiest way to put the seal on the food or the food packaging is in the form of labels. In addition to the initiative of the shape seal, there are already special legal requirements for labeling in the meat industry, in which a label can serve as an information carrier.

Obligation to indicate the origin of pork, sheep, goat and poultry meat

Information on the origin of fresh, chilled or frozen pork, sheep, goat and poultry meat is mandatory throughout the EU. The basis for this labeling is the EU Food Information Regulation in conjunction with the Implementing Regulation of the European Commission (EU) No. 1337/2013.

The following mandatory information must be observed:

  • Land of rearing and slaughter of the animal

  • if the birth, rearing and slaughter of the animals can be proven to be in a single EU member state or a third country, the term "origin" may be used

  • Mixed packs in which meat from the same or different animal species is dispensed together must be listed with different information

  • There are special regulations for minced meat and trimmings

  • additional voluntary information on the origin is permitted

  • Mixing of meat from different origins in the production chain is limited by specifications for batch formation: A traceability and monitoring system is established across the entire production chain using a code.

Legal requirements for beef labeling

The occurrence of BSE resulted in a loss of confidence among consumers, which resulted in an enormous decline in beef consumption. To create transparency in the beef production process, beef labeling has been introduced. This guarantees traceability across all marketing and production stages. The legal basis for the labeling of beef is the EU Food Information Regulation in conjunction with the Implementing Regulation of the European Commission (EC) No. 1825/2000.

The mandatory information on beef labeling is the following:

  • Reference number / reference code This number is used for the traceability of the meat to an animal or a group of animals.

  • Born / fattened / slaughtered in: Enter the relevant EU member state or the third country. If birth / fattening / slaughter takes place in a country, the term “origin” can be given in a simplified manner.

  • Disassembled into: The relevant EU member state or the third country in which the cutting took place must be specified

  • Approval number of the slaughterhouse

  • Approval number of the cutting company

Additional legal requirements apply to non-prepackaged meat, minced beef and meat from third countries. Voluntary additional information is possible, but must be objective and verifiable by the control authority and understandable for the consumer.

The mandatory labeling is monitored through on-site inspections. If there is a violation of the beef labeling, various measures, such as the initiation of a fine, are taken.

Meat identification and labeling solutions

In general, there are many options for labeling in the meat industry. The selection of the right technology depends, among other things, on: the production environment, the production speed, the variety of products, the product formats and the number of products. In the following we will inform you about possible solutions.


The labels for labeling in the meat industry must meet the requirements for food labeling in accordance with Regulation (EU) 10/2011. Whether blank labels for printing or prefabricated labels - thanks to our own label production, we offer you the highest quality and fast delivery.

Use of label printers

By using label printers, the posture label or information labels can be printed directly in the production facility. As a partner of well-known manufacturers of label printers, thermal transfer printers and inkjet printers, b + b offers you the right solution for your requirements - depending on the production speed, the number of products to be labeled and the production environment. With the help of selected label printers, the information on the labels can be printed in a food-safe manner and is particularly easy to read for the consumer.

Use of print-and-dispense systems

The use of label printing dispensers is generally possible. Here the information is printed on the label and then applied to the product. The new label printing dispenser EDS 420i | EDS 620i from b + b is suitable for implementing the mandatory information. This is compact, robust and can be flexibly integrated into your production line.

Use of label design and automation software

With the help of labeling software, you can design and print your labels directly with the animal welfare seal as well as mandatory information. The label software Labelsplatform 4 from b + b enables you to easily implement the requirements in the meat industry.

Use of semi or fully automatic labeling systems

Depending on the production volume and the required number of cycles, manufacturers opt for semi or fully automatic labeling systems. In food production, appropriate hygiene regulations must be observed in production.

Depending on the product or packaging format, various standard systems from b + b can be used. Whether top, bottom, side, all-round or closure labeling - b + b offers you the right solution. In addition to the standard labeling machines, b + b also offers corresponding special solutions, tailored to your product and packaging formats, as well as your requirements.

Product traceability through serialization

The subject of product traceability is also becoming more and more important in the meat industry. Product recalls can seriously damage the company's image or brand. In particular, due to the increasing speed of communication through social media and the digitization of communication, information is being disseminated ever faster and can lead to major damage to image.

With product labeling and product tracking, the routes of the product can be traced more quickly and a product recall can be carried out more quickly. b + b offers you all the hardware or software components you need to serialize your products.

Which technology is the economically best solution for your company?

The question of the right technology to implement the food regulation always requires a differentiated assessment of the possibilities and consideration of your production and requirements. b + b will be happy to help you find the economically best complete solution for your company to meet your requirements.


Any questions? Or would you like to send us an inquiry?

Then please contact us. Our contacts are at your disposal.

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