USDA issued a proposed rule on a clearer definition of naturally raised for livestock last November. Public comments were to be accepted until Jan. 28, 2008, but according to William Sessions of the Agricultural Marketing Service, interest in the regulations has been so high that the comment period has been extended until Mar. 3, 2008.
"It's pretty much across the marketing chain from producers to processors, marketers, consumers," Sessions says. "There's a very broad interest in this marketing claim."
The USDA is trying to develop a consensus, voluntary standard for those producers and processors or marketers that use the term Naturally Raised Livestock.
"What we have proposed based upon our research, public interest meetings and so forth is that the Naturally Raised Livestock claim will mean that the animal was raised without antibiotics, growth promotents, or fed avian or mammalian animal byproducts," Sessions says.
Sessions says they hope to publish a final rule later this year. To read or submit comments on the Naturally Raised Livestock claim regulations, click HERE.