The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) posted proposals yesterday regarding their efforts to provide updated nutritional information for meat and poultry products.

Under the rubric of allowing consumers to make informed decisions – FSIS appears to agree that the new(ish) FDA final nutrition regulations make sense and that this:

Information on New Label Format from FDA’s FAQ

should be the new standard for meat and poultry products as well.  The full proposal on which the USDA is seeking comment can be found here.

As described on the website announcing the proposal, specifically, FSIS is proposing to:

  • Update the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared;
  • Provide updated Daily Reference Values (DRVs) and Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values that are based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports;
  • Amend the labeling requirements for foods represented or purported to be specifically for children under the age of 4 years and pregnant women and lactating women and establish nutrient reference values specifically for these population subgroups;
  • Revise the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label;
  • Amend the definition of a single-serving container;
  • Require dual-column labeling for certain containers;
  • Update and modify several reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs or reference amounts); and
  • Consolidate the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products into a new Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part.

Under the FDA guidelines, manufacturers with over $10 million in sales have until July 26, 2018, to implement the new labels and those with sales under $10 million have an additional year to comply.  

For the USDA’s new implementation and adoption, it’s unclear what the adoption will mean by way of a time-frame for implementation for meat and poultry producers, but for now, the USDA announced on November 16 that while FSIS is considering and in the process rule-making that it will accept and allow establishments to voluntarily choose to use the approved and newly implemented FDA label format “as long as the information on the labels is still truthful and not misleading” until FSIS adopts its own guidelines, at which point establishments will need to meet those new requirements by whatever deadline FSIS sets.

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