2012 Nutrition Label Requirements
New regulation on "Nutrition Labeling of Single-Ingredient Products and Ground or Chopped Meat and Poultry Products" will take effect on
January 1, 2012 March 1st, 2012. Understanding what the new regulation will require and how it will affect you are important to you and your business. We have outlined the guidelines presented by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Displaying nutrition information for the customer
Nutrition information for the consumer may be provided in two ways at a retail location or online for those who choose to buy their meat on the web.
- Nutrition information may be added to your existing label.
- In addition to your existing label, a separate label may be used.
- All ground and chopped meat and poultry products (with or without seasoning) must have the nutritional information provided on the product label. Not POP materials. This is due to the different formulation variations, according to the FSIS.
- Cards, Brochures, Posters, etc.
- The information must be in close proximity to the food.
- The information must also be made available so that the customer can take it with them, if desired.
Online Sales / Internet
- The point-of-purchase information must be on the same site, and easily accessible, as where the products are ordered from.
The FSIS has made it very clear that they intend to visit stores to verify that they are in compliance with the new regulations, along with other single-ingredient nutrition labeling requirements.
Regarding Point-of-Purchase Display use:
- If you produce more than 100,000 pounds of a particular single-ingredient ground product (i.e. raw hamburger, ground beef, ground beef patties, ground chicken, ground turkey, ground chicken patties, ground pork, or ground lam) annually, then FSIS is requiring that nutrition information (i.e. nutrition label) for ground or chopped product must appear on the label of these products
- If you produce less than 100,000 pounds of a particular single-ingredient ground product annually, then the small business exemption applies and you are not required to provide nutrition information on the label of these products or provide point-of-purchase information regarding these products.
Labels and POP must include
- The total number of calories and the grams of total fat and saturated fat a product contains.
- Additionally, any product that lists a lean percentage statement on its label, must also list its fat percentage. This will make it easier for customers to understand the amounts of lean protein in their purchases.
The FSIS has stated that failure to provide the required nutrition information in accordance with the new rule will render the product misbranded.
FSIS estimates the cost of labeling
The FSIS has estimated the additional cost of labeling single ingredient, raw meat products to be about $.0002 per pound. The estimated cost for ground or chopped products will be about $.0006 per pound.
The agency estimates between $75.5 million to $91.3 million annually for 20 years, based on the "monetized benefits of potential lives saved."
Exemptions from the new regulation
There are some exemptions to be aware of. The new regulation will not apply to the following items as long as the labels bear no nutrition claim or nutrition information:
- Intended for export
- Not for sale to customers.
- Custom slaughtered or prepared.
- Individually wrapped, small packages of less than 0.5 ounce net weight.
- Major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products and ground or chopped meat and poultry products that are intended for further processing.
Additional exemptions may also apply, as long as the labels bear no nutrition claim or nutrition information:
- Products that are ground or chopped at the customer's request, and are prepared and served at retail.
- Ground or chopped products in packages that have a total surface area for labeling of less than 12 square inches, provided that the product's labeling includes no nutrition claims or nutrition information and provided that an address or telephone number that a consumer can use to obtain the required information is included on the label.
Small business exemptions
- Ground products produced by small businesses that use statements of percent fat and percent lean on the label or in labeling of ground products, provided they include no other nutrition claims or nutrition information on the product labels or labeling.
Small business exemption applies to any establishment (or retail facility) that has 500 or fewer employees. Any product they produce at less than 100,000 lbs. per year is exempt from nutrition labeling as long as the product includes no nutrition information or claims.
In its Federal Register notice, FSIS says an exemption for ground or chopped products produced by small businesses is necessary because the burden of mandatory nutrition labeling may force some small firms to stop producing the product - or go out of business - because of the additional costs.
Also, small businesses that use statements of percent fat and percent lean on the label of ground products, provided they include no other nutrition claims or nutrition information on the product labels or labeling, are exempted from the nutrition labeling requirements.
Regarding an important non-exemption:
- The FSIS points out that no small business exemption exists for major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products because nutrition information for these products may be provided on labels or, alternatively, at their point-of-purchase. Additionally, FSIS will make point-of-purchase materials available over the Internet free of charge. Therefore, the nutrition labeling requirement for major cuts of single-ingredient, raw products should not impose an economic hardship for small businesses, including those that are retail stores.
We would like to thank the American Association of Meat Processors as the primary source for the above information on the Nutrition Label Requirements for 2012. Please visit their site for additional information on membership and the great benefits that they provide to the meat processing community.