Starting in 2012 consumers buying meat will have more information about the products they're choosing. In today's Federal Register USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service will publish its final rule "Nutrition Labeling of Single-Ingredient Products and Ground or Chopped Meat and Poultry Products." The rule has been 10 years in the making.
The rule will require labels on meat packaging or at the point of purchase for major cuts of single ingredient, raw meat and poultry products. In addition the rule will require nutrition labels on all ground or chopped meat and poultry products unless the products are exempted, according to an American Meat Institute release.
In today's issue of USA Today the reporter pointed to a label for 73% lean ground beef noting a single serving has 60% of the suggested daily intake of fat. However, the American Meat Institute points out that consumers will also find that meat is a lean, healthy source of protein too. The group - which supports the labels - points out that boneless chicken breasts have 165 calories and 3.57 grams of fat per 100-gram serving, and a serving of beef eye of round has 166 calories with 4.87 grams of total fat. Pork tenderloin fares well too with 143 calories and 3.51 grams of fat per 100-gram serving.
AMI Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel Mark Dopp says he is "disappointed" by the 12-month implementation period, noting it presents major challenges to retail customers. The group had sought an 18-month implementation period. He adds that the labels do provide a unique opportunity for industry to educate consumers.
"The new labels and point-of-purchase information may help correct misconceptions," Dopp says.