Labeling

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) develops and provides labeling guidance, policies and inspection methods, and administers programs to protect consumers from misbranded and economically adulterated meat and poultry products which ensures that all labels are truthful and not misleading.

NEW Updates
FSIS Announces Proposal to Expand Generic Label Approval

FSIS is proposing to amend its inspection regulations pertaining to the generic approval of meat, poultry, and egg product labels. Labels that have been generically approved do not need to be submitted to or reviewed by FSIS before they can be used on product in commerce. Under FSIS regulations, certain categories of labels must be submitted to FSIS for review and approval before use. All other labels may be “generically approved” if they meet all applicable requirements and are, therefore, not required to be submitted to FSIS before use.

Under this proposed rule, labels on products for export that deviate from FSIS requirements but meet the requirements of the foreign country would be deemed generically approved. In addition, the proposed rule would extend generic approval to the following labeling claims:
• Claims in a label’s ingredients statement that designate ingredients as certified “organic” (e.g., organic garlic) under the Agricultural Marketing Service National Organic Program
• Geographic landmarks on product labels, such as a foreign country’s flag, monument, or map
• “Negative” claims on product labels that identify the absence of certain ingredients or types of ingredients (e.g., “No MSG Added,” “Preservative Free,” “No Milk,” “No Pork,” or “Made Without Soy”)

The proposed rule would also permit generic label approval for products that receive voluntary FSIS inspection (e.g., exotic species under 9 CFR part 352) on the same basis as amenable meat, poultry, and egg products. Lastly, under the proposed rule, FSIS would no longer evaluate generically approved labels voluntarily submitted to FSIS for review.

FSIS is seeking public comments on the proposal until November 13, 2020. Comments may be submitted online via the federal eRulemaking portal, available at http://www.regulations.gov; by mail sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3758, Room 6065, Washington, D.C., 20250-3700.
All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the agency name and docket number FSIS-2019-0019.
FSIS will consider the comments received and respond to them as it works on finalizing the rule.

Resources

FSIS Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book

FSIS Labeling Policies  – includes labeling information for generic label approval, irradiation, natural or regenerated collagen sausage casing, net weight labeling, nutrition labeling information, product dating, and standards of identity.

Label Submission and Approval System (LSAS)

FSIS Labeling Procedures

FSIS Labeling Ingredients Guidance

FSIS Labeling Claims Guidance

FSIS Guideline on Kit Product Labeling– The purpose of this guideline is to provide information on the labeling and inspection of multi-component food kits (henceforth, kit products) that contain a meat or poultry component.

Guide to Federal Food Labeling Requirements for Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products

FSIS Directives

7000.4 Verifying Certain Transferred Labeling (Dec 8, 2008)

7130.1 Verifying Nutrition Labeling for the Major Cuts of Single-Ingredient, Raw Meat and Poultry Products and Ground or Chopped Meat and Poultry Products (Jul 8, 2015)

7220.1 Food Labeling Division Policy Memoranda (Aug 2, 2005)

7221.1 Prior Labeling Approval- Revision 1 (Jan 6, 2014)

7230.1 Ongoing Verification of Product Formulation and Labeling Targeting the Eight Most Common (“BIG 8”) Food Allergens (Sep 26, 2018)

9900.5 Label Verification of Imported Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products- Revision 1 (Jan 24, 2019)

FSIS Notices

11-19 Information Regarding Instructional Labeling Statements for Raw Beef Products Shipped to Intermediary Official Establishments Prior to Delivery to an Official Establishment for Full Lethality Treatment to Address Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli (Apr 30, 2019; expires May 1, 2020)

19-19 Label Verification of Imported Raw Beef Products Labeled “For Cooking Only” or “For Full Lethality Treatment” (issues Jun 19, 2019; expires Jul 1, 2020)

26-19 FSIS Sampling for Labeling Claims Verification (issues Aug 20, 2019; expires Sep 1, 2020)