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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Criteria and factors of the quality of French Label Rouge chickens

INRA Prod. Anim., 10(3), 219-226.


INRA Direction des Politiques régionales, 147 rue de l’Université, 75338 Paris cedex 07


The production of free-range chickens known as "Label Rouge" (developed in France since 1965) is described here as a model of collective organization leading to a well defined quality product.

The French consumer expects chicken to be a rather firm and tasty meat. Other criteria such as fat content, muscle yield, skin and feather colour (when visible) are also considered. When evaluation tests are conducted blindly, Label Rouge chickens are recognized and preferred to standard chickens on the basis of these criteria. Factors which play the main role for controlling these criteria are the age of the bird at slaughtering and its genetic background ; Label Rouge regulations impose the use of slowly growing chickens kept up to 81 days minimum. Feeding mainly modifies the carcass fat content and feed efficiency but has little effect on meat flavour from the moment that some raw materials are suppressed (meat or fish meals). The presence of an open-air free range is essential to the product image but has little effect on sensory properties.

Due to the guaranteed mastery of these factors, the Label Rouge organization satisfies five important requirements of the French present-day consumer, namely a superior and objectively accepted quality, a traditional way of production, traceability of the product, the insurance of independent controls and a fair price.

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