USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service finalized new rules last year about nutritional labeling of meat and poultry products. The new rules are effective on January 1, 2012 -- that means everyone must be in compliance.
On this Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network webinar, FSIS staff explained the rules and what you need to know to comply. Also, Brynn Kepler, Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs at the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), described labeling resources they've developed for processors.
We had plenty of time for Q&A, with many questions answered.
Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2011, for one hour
Here are some questions, with answers from FSIS staff, that may be relevant to niche meat producers, processors, and marketers. For the basic rules, watch the webinar and/or review the FSIS presentation slides.
A: The plant that does the retail labeling is responsible for the nutrition labeling on ground product.
A: Not if they comply with the small business exemption provided for nutrition labeling in 317.400.
A: There is a standard for ground beef of no more than 30% fat; they can use that for nutrition labeling.
A: No. If companies sell grass-fed meat and believe it has a better nutrient profile, it is up to the company to determine the nutrient composition.
A: The nutrition labeling regulations do not specify how companies must determine the nutrient profile of their products. The compliance that FSIS will apply is in 317.309(h). If a company does its own analysis for nutrients in the single ingredient cuts, even without claims on the label, it will be subject to sampling from FSIS. If the company uses the USDA data and makes no claims, it is not subject to sampling by FSIS.
A: He can use the information for “all grades.”
A: For cuts the nutrition can be on either the raw or cooked basis. For ground product, nutrition information must be on the raw or “as sold” basis.
A: The serving size for raw product is generally 4 ounces (112 grams). For cooked it is 3 ounces (84 grams). However, additional information can be found in 317.309(b) regarding serving sizes.
A: Yes, at some point FSIS will sample product. Compliance is found in 317.400, the basic 80/120 parameters that apply to all nutrition labeling.
A: POP should be displayed with the product or very near the product.
A: Provide the information for major cuts on line, with the product information.
A: The FSIS Compliance Program will handle enforcement.