On 13 October 1999 the European Commission adopted two proposals setting the timeframe for the compulsory labelling of beef in the European Union (EU). Both are based upon Article 152 (Public Health) of the Amsterdam Treaty. The objective of the first proposed Regulation is to set up a transparent obligatory labelling system in two steps. The first stage, which will enter into force one month after the adoption of the regulation and aims to inform the consumer about the information readily available at the point of slaughter. From 1 January 2003 the beef label has also to include, in addition, information on where the animal was born and reared. Given the time required for adoption of the first regulation, the second proposal prolongs the existing Regulation (EC) No 820/97, for voluntary labelling (which Member States may make obligatory in relation to their own production) until 1 January 2001 at the latest.