This mention, which competes with the protected designation of origin (PDO) “Camembert de Normandie”, ought to have disappeared from the labels at 1er January 2021. However, it’s still present in a lot of the shops that we visited, though the Council of State rejected the request of the union of non-PDO producers supported by Lactalis. Explanations.
The Camembert makers were officially warned since July 9, 2020: “The name” Camembert de Normandie “is protected at European level against any commercial use” which might show to be deceptive for the buyer, recalled the General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) in a “Notice to economic operators”. Result, ” the mention “Made in Normandy” is not possible on a non PDO cheese “.
Multiplication of references to Normandy
A month after the entry into power of this ban, investigators from UFC-Que Choisir went to scrutinize the cheese departments of supermarkets (1). Not solely does the mention “Made in Normandy” stay widely present on the bins of Camembert, however different claims multiplying the references to this area are flourishing. In whole, 85% of the supermarkets visited provide non-PDO cheeses whose labels allude to this area, whether or not it’s milk, farms or manufacturing. We discovered not less than 14 totally different manufacturers enjoying with a complete vary of phrases.
Whether it’s the “classic” format or his “campaign camembert”, President accumulates the mentions “Made in Normandy” and “100% Norman milk”. Other flagship manufacturers of the Lactalis group, Le Rustique opts for “Milk collected in Normandy farms”, Lanquetot balances between “Made in Normandy” and “100% Norman milk” based on the businesses, whereas Graindorge (acquired by Lactalis in 2016) evokes the “Traditions of Normandy”. Auchan, for its personal model, poster “Milk of Normandy”, whereas others recommend the area in the title of their product: “Le fin Normand,” Petit Normand “,” Le bon Normand “, and many others.
The supporters of “Made in Normandy” rejected by the Council of State
Lactalis is over-represented in our pattern: its President Camembert accounts for 45% of the mentions “Made in Normandy”, adopted by Lepetit (17%) and Lanquetot (16%). Including all the group’s manufacturers, greater than two-thirds of this mention is made by it. It shouldn’t be a shock: the French chief of cheese makers doesn’t disguise its opposition to any restriction on the usage of the time period “Normandy”. But it’s the Norman Union of Camembert Manufacturers (SNFC, which represents non-PDO camemberts producers), of which Lactalis is an influential member, which is stepping up in opposition to the DGCCRF. In a ultimate try, the union filed, on December 8, an software for abstract proceedings with the Council of State to request the suspension of the opinion of July 9. In useless: the excessive administrative courtroom rejected his request on December 24. The arguments of the SNFC as to the anteriority of the usage of the time period “Made in Normandy” on the PDO or the breach of equality vis-à-vis producers of camemberts positioned exterior Normandy who, them, could make mention of their area didn’t, it appears, satisfied the judges.
The judgment, on the shape, goes past the hopes of the defenders of the AOP, by confirming that the tip of the “Administrative tolerance” vis-à-vis the “Made in Normandy” is justified. “The highlighting of the words” Made in Normandy “under conditions, relating in particular to the composition of the label, the typography used, the graphics, such as to induce a risk of confusion in the minds of consumers” is certainly “Likely to harm” to the PDO, clarifies the judgment. The Council of State refers back to the 2012 European regulation on high quality indicators, which stipulates that PDOs are protected in opposition to any reference “Likely to mislead the consumer”. The European Union has additionally put France on discover to place an finish to this coexistence, which is opposite to the rules.
A judgment on the deserves needs to be rendered this yr, most likely in the spring. It ought to definitively finish the usage of the mention “Made in Normandy” and “Stop the confusion” with the PDO, hopes Patrice Chassard, president of the Committee of dairy appellations at Inao (National Institute of Origin and Quality). And lastly to settle a cleaning soap opera that has lasted too lengthy, weakening the sectors beneath an indication of high quality.
By then, the DGCCRF ought to begin in-retailer controls ” very soon “, she instructed What to decide on. The administration gave cheesemakers a reprieve to get rid of their previous batches of labels now non-compliant. If Lactalis doesn’t persist, the mention “Made in Normandy” ought to progressively disappear. But it can give strategy to the brand new guarantees with which it coexists right now. The confusion with the PDO Camembert de Normandie is just shifting …
Lactalis doesn’t let go
To whom was Lactalis actually addressing these full pages of promoting printed in a number of nationwide press titles, on February 3 and 6, 2021? Did he inform consumers of President Camemberts that the phrases “Made in Normandy” would get replaced by “Made in the Orne”? Or was it a political message warning that he wouldn’t surrender? In each circumstances, his irony makes individuals cringe in the dairy trade.
As nicely because the blue-white-purple brand designating the producer as “French family business”. This is factually appropriate since Lactalis is 100% owned by the Besnier household. But we’re removed from the pleasant SME that smells of Normandy: it’s the world No. 1 in dairy merchandise, garnering 20 billion euros in turnover in 2019 and whose main holding firms are domiciled in Luxembourg.
(1) Survey carried out from January 28 to February 8 in 485 supermarkets (laborious low cost included) in 64 departments.