National News

France battles against bad restaurant food

This logo, in two black and white versions, provided Wednesday July, 16, 2014 by the French Trade Ministry shows the new symbol indicating your menu choice is made in-house. It
This logo, in two black and white versions, provided Wednesday July, 16, 2014 by the French Trade Ministry shows the new symbol indicating your menu choice is made in-house. It's part of a new law meant to battle against the surprising amount of factory-made, pre-packaged food in French restaurants. The Parliament approved the law last March 17, and it came into effect this week. Restaurants and catering companies have until January 1 to adapt their menus. (AP Photo/Ministere de l'Artisanat du Commerce et du Tourisme)
— image credit:

By Louise Dewast, The Associated Press

PARIS - Restaurant-goers in France will start seeing a funny little symbol on their menus this week: a skillet with a house on top, indicating your menu choice is made in-house.

It's part of a new law meant to battle against the surprising amount of factory-made, pre-packaged food in French restaurants, and celebrate the country's culinary traditions.

However, many in the industry say the law doesn't go far enough, because it allows dishes made from frozen, pre-peeled or pre-cut products to count as home-made.

France's chief of consumer affairs, Carole Delga, told The Associated Press that the logo would better inform customers about what they're getting, and highlight restaurants' craftsmanship.

"It's about sending a message that France is a country where we eat well, where we have skills, especially cooking skills," she said. "We wanted to give concrete tools for tourists and for French people, and recognize cooking as an integral part of our French identity."

While UNESCO put French cuisine on its World Heritage List in 2010, two recessions in recent years have driven more and more French chefs to resort to pre-packaged food to cut costs. And France is a champion of industrial food, with companies specialized in frozen foods or dishes that can be prepared quickly and look homemade.

Alain Dutournier, cook and spokesman for the Culinary College of France, a non-profit supporting French gastronomy, is among those who think the law makes it too easy for restaurants to claim a dish is home-made.

"It's really not very serious. I thought it would be more rigorous and precise," he said. "Once again they are choosing to serve the interest of the food-processing industry."

Diners at Crom'Exquis, a restaurant in Paris' 8th arrondissement, gave the new law mixed reviews. Anne-Laure Bernard called it "a great tool."

There is an exception for potatoes. Dubbed by French media the "McDonald's exception," it means that no one making French fries out of pre-peeled potatoes can claim to be "home-made."

Parliament approved the law March 17, and it came into effect this week. Restaurants and catering companies have until Jan. 1 to adapt their menus.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Election 2014: Barriere mayoral candidate Virginia Smith
 
UN: We botched response to the Ebola outbreak
 
(VIDEO) B.C. boys Reinhart, Virtanen ranked in Top 10 for 2014 NHL Draft
Sergeant-at-arms credited for saving lives
 
Terrace runners go the distance in Victoria
 
Society seeks surplus food
Messy start to 24/7 recycling in Prince Rupert
 
Race for Rossland Mayor is on
 
Hockey on tap

Community Events, October 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 16 edition online now. Browse the archives.