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Summaries of EU Legislation

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Identification and labelling of beef and veal

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Identification and labelling of beef and veal


Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000 – system for the identification and labelling of beef and veal products



It requires each EU country to manage a system for identifying and registering cattle. The rules, which include compulsory labelling, are designed to eradicate disease and to make it possible to trace beef and veal throughout the whole food chain.


Every animal, including imported cattle, must have a tag in each ear making it possible to identify them and to determine where they were born.

EU countries must establish a data base containing details of all cattle and their movements.

Every animal is given a passport within 2 weeks of being born or imported. This must accompany it whenever it is moved and be handed in on its death.

Every farmer must maintain an up-to-date register and report all births, deaths and cattle movements to the relevant authorities, within 3 to 7 days of the event. The records must be available for up to 3 years.

Labels on all beef and veal on sale in the EU must contain a reference code making it possible to identify its origin and details of where the animal was slaughtered and butchered.

Since 1 January 2002, the labels also state the animal's country of birth and where it was fattened and slaughtered.

The labels may contain additional voluntary information about the meat being sold, but the wording must first be approved by the competent national authority.


It entered into force on 14 August 2000.


Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 July 2000 establishing a system for the identification and registration of bovine animals and regarding the labelling of beef and beef products and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 820/97 (OJ L 204, 11.8.2000, pp. 1–10)

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000 have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Commission Decision 2006/28/EC of 18 January 2006 on extension of the maximum period for applying eartags to certain bovine animals (OJ L 19, 24.1.2006, pp. 32–33)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 644/2005 of 27 April 2005 authorising a special identification system for bovine animals kept for cultural and historical purposes on approved premises as provided for in Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 107, 28.4.2005, pp. 18–19)

Commission Decision 2001/672/EC of 20 August 2001 laying down special rules applicable to movements of bovine animals when put out to summer grazing in mountain areas (OJ L 235, 4.9.2001, pp. 23–25). See consolidated version.

last update 29.11.2015