New generic labeling rule announced

CannedGoods_iStock_5493345_blogA new rule has made it easier to implement certain types of meat and poultry labels, thanks to a new generic labeling rule announced last Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS).

The new rule expands the criteria for labels to be considered generically approved. For example, label statements that are defined in FSIS regulations or through the Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book will no longer require prior approval before implementation. This includes allergen statements, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) grading (e.g., “prime” or “choice”), flavor profiles (e.g., “Made with fennel”, “made with Italian cheese”), and ready in/cooks in statements, according to the rule’s compliance document.

However, labels that have certain statements, such as “no added antibiotics” and “vegetarian fed” will still need FSIS approval before implementation. Labels that make other special claims, are made under religious exemption and export-only products with label deviations also will still need FSIS approval (e.g., “gluten-free”, “heart smart”, “all natural”, “no animal by-products”).

The agency hopes the new rule will “streamline and improve the approval process for meat and poultry product labels”, while also making it easier for product to get to the shelves and freeing up personnel for other labeling or food safety concerns, according to a constituent update from FSIS.

Despite the expansion of generic labeling, FSIS notes that inspectors still will check to ensure label accuracy and compliance with labeling rules.

For a list of what falls under the new generic labeling guidelines and what doesn’t, check out the compliance document here.

Comments are closed.