Public quality labels for beef to promote national productions


Introduction to the challenge addressed

Beef produced in Italy derives from a very specialised and controlled production system. The links with the territory and local agricultural production are very strong. However despite of this the consumer is not aware of the quality of the work made by their national beef producers, the market doesn't recognize the value of beef produced in Italy and farmers are often in difficulty for very low incomes and prices of production that are not competitive with those of producers in other countries or producers with lower quality standards.

Quality labels are regional or national and certification can be obtained by any beef producer who subscribes a participation to the control system and respects the requirements of a specific and detailed standard of production.


Description of Innovation

The regional quality label for beef Qualità Verificata (Verified Quality) and the national quality label Consorzio Sigillo Italiano (Italian Seal Consortium) are given to beef produced by farmers who accept to produce under the requirements of a standard, called “Bull/heifer fed with cereals”. This standard includes several requirements and parameters to be complied with. In general they concern the choice of animals, housing facilities, welfare, food and health management and traceability. The name of the standard comes from what is considered typical of beef produced in Italy: the traditional use of high shares of cereals in animals diets. The production chain includes farms, slaughtering and processing operators and points of sale. The final product is beef with a mark than can be printed on labels, certificates, packaging or any other means to better reach consumer’s attention. The producer belongs to a private organisation and control on the farmers’ compliance with the product specification is carried out by a third body of certification, on behalf of regional or national government authorities. The standard was created to promote the characteristics of the existing Italian beef production, which is considered of high quality, so in general not too  challenging for farmers. The benefits of certification comes from belonging to a label recognized by the consumer. Also producers belonging to the quality system have access to subsidies at slaughter premia or to funds from Regional and National Development Plans.



Impact on farm performance

Beef producers have the possibility to transfer the results of their specialised and optimised work to the consumer. Beef produced locally or at national level can be recognized by the consumer. Producers can obtain a better economic recognition for their work with a higher value of their beef on the market. Moreover regional and national Rural Development Programs together with other promotional interventions have specific measures to reward the producers, which can be direct subsidies, contributions to farm investments or to advertise beef on the market. 

At farm and animal level, the standard includes many requirements about good feeding, housing, managing and overall welfare of animals and thus allows them to best express their growth performances. The health and welfare of animals is defined in parameters, which can be monitored by the farmer and is controlled by third party controls. The age of slaughter at 22 months was chosen in order to have young animals with tender meat and the feeding diet needs a compulsory minimum inclusion of cereals with a granted minimum content of fibre which leads to the best growth  and quality.

Also environmental issues are taken into account, since the search for the best welfare conditions for animals has the aim to optimize their growth and this leads to the best utilisation of production factors. The link with the local production of the greater part of the ration contributes to limit long distance transport of feedstuffs.


Audio-visual material



The Regional and National marks for beef produced under the standard Bull/Heifer fed with cereals 


Publicity of the beef in a store.


Further information