France 'home-made' label to combat reheated dishes

French restaurant dish in Quimper, W France - file pic
Image caption The bill is aimed at defending the quality of French cuisine

French MPs have approved a bill forcing restaurants to label as "home-made" dishes which were prepared from raw ingredients in their kitchen.

The "fait maison" label on menus is aimed at curbing the practice of buying in pre-cooked meals from outside, microwaving them and passing them off as freshly made.

Restaurants marking dishes as "fait maison" fraudulently will be fined.

The Senate (upper house) still has to back the bill for it to become law.

MPs from both the ruling Socialist Party and opposition centre-right UMP called for the measure to be obligatory, overruling Business and Tourism Minister Sylvia Pinel, who did not want it to go that far.

"We're making things more transparent and restoring our trade's respectability," said Didier Chenet, head of restaurant federation Synhorcat.

"Clients will know what to expect. The problem right now is that you push the door of a restaurant and you don't know if there's actually a chef in the kitchen," he told Reuters news agency.

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