The American Meat Institute (AMI) said that the new labels would help the industry prove to consumers that meat is an important part of a healthy diet. “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,” said AMI President J Patrick Boyle.
“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.”
The National Pork Board also supported the new law, saying: “Many consumers are not aware of the lean pork cut options the meat case has to offer. Many in fact, are surprised to learn that the pork tenderloin is just as lean as a skinless chicken breast. Providing nutrition labelling at point-of-purchase allows consumers to make educated choices and reinforce the wide availability of healthful meat options.”
Mandatory on most food products since 1993, nutritional labelling was still voluntary on meat until the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) amended the legislation in April 2011.
Under the new rule, packages of ground or chopped meat and poultry, such as hamburger or ground turkey, along with 40 popular cuts, have to feature nutrition facts panels on their labels. “Providing nutrition information on meat and poultry products in the store gives shoppers a clearer sense of the options available, allowing them to purchase items that are most appropriate for their families’ needs. These new labels mark a significant step in the agency’s efforts to help consumers make more informed food purchase decisions,” said under secretary for food safety Dr Elisabeth Hagen.
“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 and ground beef, also have carried labels voluntarily,” added Boyle.