Meat Labeling Rule Postponed

WASHINGTON Retailers will have two extra months to comply with a new nutritional labeling law for meat and poultry, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The rule will require on-pack or point-of-purchase labeling to list, at minimum, calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, iron and total

WASHINGTON — Retailers will have two extra months to comply with a new nutritional labeling law for meat and poultry, according to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The rule will require on-pack or point-of-purchase labeling to list, at minimum, calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, iron and total carbohydrate content on all single-ingredient muscle cuts and ground meat and poultry products. FSIS had originally set January 1, 2012 as the deadline for compliance. The new deadline will be March 1.

Although the National Cattlemen's Beef Association expressed disappointment when FSIS announced its original 12-month time-frame for implementing the rule, NCBA and other groups have been mostly supportive of nutrition labeling. In NCBA pilot tests at supermarket chains including Marsh, Giant of Carlisle and Hannaford Bros., labels that included statements such as “beef is an excellent source of protein,” along with micro-nutrient information, such as zinc and vitamin B content, helped boost sales of beef.

A coalition of groups including NCBA, the National Pork Board, the American Meat Institute, the Food Marketing Institute and others praised the USDA and FSIS for giving the industry additional time.