US government proposes changes to meat and poultry's nutritional display

By Aaron McDonald

- Last updated on GMT

Proposed new labels on meat and poultry will help consumers makes informed decisions
Proposed new labels on meat and poultry will help consumers makes informed decisions

Related tags: Nutrition

Suggestions have been made to ensure that American consumers have up-to-date nutritional information on their meat and poultry products. 

This comes after the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) revealed it was taking steps to help the American population make more informed decisions when purchasing meat and poultry.

The proposals to amend the current labelling regulations have been aimed to run parallel to the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) final nutrition regulations, published at the end of May. This will help improve the presentation of nutritional information, allowing shoppers to make healthy consumption decisions.

“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.”

Specific areas that the FSIS is proposing to change are:
•    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 based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports
•    Change the labelling requirements for food aimed specifically at children under the age of four years old and pregnant and lactating women, as well as developing nutrient reference values for these groups
•    Revise the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label
•    Change the definition of a single-serve container
•    Require dual-column labelling for certain containers
•    To adapt and provide up-to-date reference amounts customarily consumed (RACCs or reference amounts)
•    To consolidate the nutrition labelling regulations for meat and poultry products into a new Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Nutritional labelling is a major part of the USDA’s focus on providing relevant information to consumers about nutrition and dieting. Every five years, the USDA, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), publishes the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, offering advice on food choices and to promote healthy eating to reduce health risks.

FSIS is seeking public comment on the proposals 60 days from the date of publication.

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