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LIVING IN FRANCE

Insects in Orangina: French public warned of hidden animal traces in everyday foods

A leading European food watchdog has warned the French public to be aware of animal ingredients "gate crashing" everyday food and drink items, including traces of insects in Orangina, beef extracts in yoghurts and pork in sweets. In other words check the food labels on the packaging.

Insects in Orangina: French public warned of hidden animal traces in everyday foods
Photo: foodwatch
Next time you go to the French supermarket, you may want to take a very close look at what's inside the strawberry ice cream, tinned beans or Orangina you're about to buy.
 
Common items such as ice cream, fizzy drinks or even apples may contain traces of pork or beef, a leading European consumer watchdog has warned.
 
On Thursday, the food charity Foodwatch released the result of its study titled 'Hands off! Animals gatecrash these products' in which it accused food manufacturers of a lack of transparency over their food labelling and of misleading consumers. 
 
It listed a dozen supermarket products containing these 'hidden' animal extracts.
 
The items singled out include the much-loved fizzy drink Orangina, which contains traces of insects, Yoplait's fruit yoghurt made with beef extracts , Carte d'Or ice cream also containing beef extracts, marshmallows with pork ingredients, tinned vegetables containing chicken stock and a tiramisu dessert with traces of pork.
 
The watchdog has accused food producers of concealing this fact by adding animal additives to products which the consumer would not expect to contain them, or by using names for animal-based additives which the consumer does not understand.
 
“The food industry knows full well when it uses food additives made with animal substances. We are also allowed to know so that we can choose freely what we want or what we don't want to consume,” Foodwatch campaign manager Mégane Ghorbani said.
 
While some French brands, such as Bonduelle, which sells tinned vegetables, or Auchan supermarket's own brand use animal extracts in unexpected products, they label their products clearly, the watchdog said. But other brands are deliberately misleading.
 
Most ususpecting French parents for example probably don't know that when they are buying French school kids favourite 'le petit ourson' sweet – a teddy-bear shaped marchmallow covered in milk chocolate – that it contains traces of pork.
 
This goes for other sweets from the Haribo brand. The pork comes from the gelatine in the sweets, but only 'gelatine' is listed in the ingredients, which most people may not know is made from animals, the watchdog said.
 
Another example Foodwatch gives is the ingredient 'shellac', also called E904, which is made out the cochineal insect and is found in the wax added on apples to make them shiny.
 
“Consumers want to know if their products contain animal extracts as they are vegetarian, or by religious conviction. They have the right to know,” Ghorbani told Franceinfo. “Things are not clear enough for the consumer. Sometimes marketing becomes more important that essential information they need to know,” she added.
 
The organisation carried out a study in the French supermarket over several months. Here's the list of products containing 'hidden' animal extracts they came up with.
 
Dairy products and desserts:

Panier de Yoplait 0%, Framboise Fraise Cerise Mûre Yoplait: contains traces of beef from the gelatine
 

Nestlé Le Viennois Chocolat  Lactalis (Nestlé Ultra Frais): contains traces of pork from the gelatine
 
 

Carrefour's own brand Tiramisu: contains traces of pork from the gelatine
 

Auchan's own brand 'Macaron aux Framboises': contains traces of beef from the gelatine
 
 
 
Ice-cream 'Façon Glacier, Fraise & Morceaux de meringue Carte d’Or': contains 'shellac', an additive made from cochineal insects.
 
 
Sweets:

'L’Authentique Petit Ourson Guimauve (Cémoi)': contains traces of pork
 

Haribo's 'Chamallows, L’Original': contains traces of pork and of coloring containing conchenille insect extracts
 
Drinks:
 
'Orangina rouge': contains E120 made from insects.
 
Wine: animal-based gelatine and fish glue are used as clarifying agents in wine production, even when its organic. Because these
ingredients are used in the making of the product, they don't have to be added to the list of ingredients.
 
Cheese, fruit and vegetables:
 
Système U's own brand cheese 'Comté A.O.P  U bio': it contains the enzyme rennet, which is found in a calf's stomach.
 
Tinned mixed vegetables for the Bonduelle brand  'Flageolets extra-fins, oignons et carottes Cassegrain': contains chicken stock.
 
Apples: some apples, such as the Fuji variety, may be covered in wax which contains 'shellac' made from insects.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

Strikes

But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.

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