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7/10/13

Cuisine: France Battles Rise of Processed Food in Restaurants -

You hoof it all the way to France, eager to savor some of that famous Gallic gastronomy right from the source, and you plunk down a hefty sum of euros for some authentic coq au vin or cassoulet (with a bottle of Burgundy, of course)—you want to know that you’re getting more than the equivalent of a gussied-up frozen TV dinner, right?

Just three years after the United Nations declared French cuisine part of “the intangible cultural heritage of humanity,” the nation that gave the world steak frites and escargot is living to regret it. In April, a national survey of consumer spending found that, for the first time in France’s history, more people were eating at fast-food chains than at sit-down restaurants. Now, the country’s culinary establishment is up in arms over news that more than a third of France’s non-fast-food restaurants have confessed to serving “industrially processed, often frozen food” to unsuspecting customers, as NPR reports.

A relative few diners in the States may question whether their mozzarella sticks from TGI Friday’s are prepared on-site, but in France, the idea that your b├ęchamel may come from a freeze-pak is cause for revolution—or, at least, legislation.

France’s Lower Assembly has passed a law that would create a new label reserved for restaurants that prepare all their food from raw ingredients in their own kitchen: fait-maison (translation: “homemade”). The bill now awaits approval from the Upper Senate.

“Seventy percent of French restaurants rely on companies to deliver ready-made meals that only require the ding of a microwave,” one French chef decries at NPR (though one wonders if he’s displaying the Gallic propensity for hyperbole).

Read more: France Battles Rise of Processed Food in Restaurants - Yahoo! News

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