In 1999, the European Commission submitted a proposal for a system that will improve meat labelling information. It will be required from the trade to provide a fair amount of information for each piece of beef and veal put on sale. That would include the code identifying the animal in question and its category; the region or country in which it was slaughtered, as well as the date of slaughter and the registration number of the slaughterhouse; the region or country in which the meat was boned, with the number of the firm that performed this task, and the ideal length of time for the meat to age. The information about the country of origin would apply to both member states and non-EU countries. The new labelling system should come into force on 1 January 2003, by which time all the cattle slaughtered for meat will have a "passport" showing where they were born and fattened. It will then be technically possible to retrace the key features of the animal's life. Meanwhile, a less detailed system could come into force by 1 January 2001 at the latest.