Source: USDA FSIS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Dec. 1 proposed a critical step in ensuring that consumers have updated nutritional information for meat and poultry products, helping Americans make better informed decisions when purchasing meat and poultry products.
FSIS is proposing to amend the nutrition labeling regulations for meat and poultry products to parallel the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final nutrition regulations, which were published on May 27, 2016. The proposed rule will improve the presentation of nutrition information to assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices.
“This new rule will provide more transparency on nutrition labels so that American consumers can make informed decisions about the foods they eat and feed their families,” said Alfred Almanza, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA. “The new nutrition facts panel will complement the many other proactive, prevention-based food policies that we’ve put in place in recent years.”
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.
The proposal may be viewed on the FSIS website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/a8674ea1-0c26-4bf3-8413-43b6551c0680/2014-0024.pdf?MOD=AJPERES. FSIS is seeking public comment for 60 days from the publication date. Comments may be submitted: online through the Federal eRulemaking Portal; by mail to the Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700; or by hand at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E Street SW., Room 8-163B, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
Nutrition labeling continues to be an integral part of USDA’s efforts to educate consumers about nutrition and diet. Since 1980, USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have jointly published the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) every five years. The 2015-2020 DGA provides advice on food choices that promote overall health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and help individuals attain and maintain a healthy weight. The nutrition labeling information that FSIS is proposing to require in this rule would assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices and help consumers follow the advice in the 2015-2020 DGA.
Since 2008, USDA has collaborated extensively with other federal partners to safeguard America’s food supply, prevent foodborne illnesses and improve consumers’ knowledge about the food they eat. USDA’s FSIS is working to strengthen federal food safety efforts and develop strategies that emphasize a three-dimensional approach to prevent foodborne illness: prioritizing prevention; strengthening surveillance and enforcement; and improving response and recovery.
Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can also be accessed 24 hours a day at: www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.