All Italian butchers' shops and supermarkets must now offer the consumer clear information about the provenance of the beef and veal they are selling, according to a European Union law which came into force in Italy on 17 March.
It is now obligatory to show, either on a label on a pre-packaged cut of meat, or on a clearly visible sign in the butcher's shop, the country where the animal was born, where it was raised, where and when it was slaughtered and its slaughter number, where it was cut into sections (butchered) and the identification number of the animal ( all veal, beef and milk cattle have to have an identification number clipped onto their ear). This information is taken from the detailed labelling attached to every carcass. In addition more precise details may be added about the breed of animal and the feed it received. Two letters and one number identify the sex and the quality of the animal; A for veal, B for bull, C for steer, D for cow, E for heifer. A second letter defines the quality; S for superior, E for excellent, U for very good, R for good O for mediocre P for poor. Finally a number from 1-5 indicates the quantity of fat; 1 for little fat to 5 for a lot.