Meat nutrition information coming to a store near you
Beginning March 1, consumers now have convenient access to important nutritional information about the raw meat and poultry products they most frequently purchase, US- DA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced. Under a new FSIS rule, packages of ground or chopped meat and poultry, such as hamburger or ground turkey, will now feature nutrition facts panels on their labels. Additionally, 40 of the most popular whole, raw cuts of meat and poultry, such as chicken breast or steak, will also have nutritional information either on the package labels or on display to consumers at the store.
“Providing nutrition in formation 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,” said Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. “These new labels mark a significant step in the agency’s efforts to help consumers make more informed food purchase decisions.”
The new nutrition facts panels will list the number of calories and the grams of total fat and saturated fat that a product contains. For example, consumers will be able to compare the calories and fat content for ground turkey versus ground beef, or for pork chops versus chicken breasts, right in the store. Additionally, a ground or chopped product that includes on its label a lean percentage statement, such as “85 percent lean,” and is not considered “low in fat” also will list its fat percentage, making it easier for consumers to understand the amounts of lean and fat content in a particular product. Consumers will no longer have to guess which products fit their diets.
The Federal Register notice announcing this rule was published on Dec. 29, 2010, and can be found at federalregister.gov/a/2010- 32485.
Since 1993, FSIS has required nutrition labeling for products that are not raw or that contain multiple ingredients. FSIS is tasked with ensuring that its regulated products are labeled in a way that is truthful and not misleading.
Consumers with questions about the new labels or other food safety issues can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at www.AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov.
“Ask Karen” live chat services are available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET. The tollfree USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-888-MP Hotline (1-888-674-6854), is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. — WLJ