Nutrition Facts Soon to Appear on Meat and Poultry Products

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Perhaps you have never noticed before, but many meat and poultry products sold in supermarkets currently do not have nutrition facts labels on their packages. A new ruling set to become effective on January 1, 2012 will change that. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced that nutritional information will be readily available on 40 of the most popular cuts of meat and poultry products.

USDA Labeling Will Help Americans Make Informed Decisions

Most foods, including packaged foods, are under the jurisdiction of the FDA, and those foods have been required to have nutrition labeling since the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990. However, meat and poultry products, such as ground meat and chicken breasts, are regulated by the US Department of Agriculture and were exempt from the law.

“More and more, busy American families want nutrition information that they can quickly and easily understand,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Adding nutrition information will “help consumers make informed decisions.”

Read: Americans Want Government Help in Making Healthy Food Choices

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The ruling, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2012, will pertain to only single-ingredient packages of major cuts of raw meat products. Examples include, but are not limited to, whole or boneless chicken breasts, beef whole cuts such as brisket or tenderloin steak, ground beef (hamburger) and ground turkey.

A complete list of major cuts of meat products can be found here in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Foods that are exempt include packages of meat that contain more than a single ingredient, such as a steak prepared with a stuffing, meat that is custom slaughtered or prepared, meats that are ground by the butcher at the customer’s request, or those sold in packages that are less than 12 square inches. Meats sold in small retail stores (stores or chains that have less than 500 employees) are also exempt.

Read: Does Nutrition Facts Tell the Whole Story?

The Nutrition Facts label will list calories, grams of total and saturated fat, plus information on protein, sodium, and fiber. Additionally, any product that lists a lean percentage statement, such as “76% lean” will also have to list fat percentage, making it easier for consumers to understand the statements.

The labels will either be attached to the package themselves, or will be available in another form at the point of purchase.

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