New nutrition labeling on fresh meat, poultry begins
March 1, 2012
by Meat&Poultry Staff
Washington, DC – Prior to March 1, nutrition labels were only required on meat and poultry products that contained added ingredients, such as a marinade, or products that were ready-to-eat. Today, single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products, including ground meats, sold in supermarkets will require nutrition labels, according to a US Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) ruling.
“This nutrition information will confirm for consumers what the latest US Dietary Guidelines for Americans recently said: that lean meat and poultry products are an important part of a healthy balanced diet,” said American Meat Institute President J. Patrick Boyle in a statement. “This final rule has been in progress for more than a decade, and the meat and poultry industry is pleased to provide nutrient content information to consumers about our fresh products.”
Nutrition labels have been required on processed meat and poultry products like bacon, ham and marinated pork loins for many years. Many fresh single ingredient meat and poultry products like steak, tenderloins, ground beef and chicken products, also have carried labels voluntarily.
Associations that promote meat and poultry, such as AMI and the National Chicken Council, continue to send the message to consumers that meat and poultry products are nutritious and rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Meat industry officials point out that more than 40 cuts of beef, pork, lamb and poultry are considered lean, and a three-oz. serving of meat or poultry contains between 160 and 200 calories and contains all nine essential amino acids.
“Chicken has long been recognized for its positive nutritional benefits as one of the most nutrient-rich, lean protein options, giving consumers the highest rate of nutrients for their food dollar,” said NCC Vice President of Communications Tom Super. “The National Chicken Council encourages food shoppers to use this nutrition information on meat and poultry products to help better select the options that are best for their families and their dietary needs.”
A website (meatnutritionlabeling.org) has been created to assist supermarkets and meat and poultry processors in complying with the new guidelines.