USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service has been working on a new nutrition label for single-ingredient items that would have significantly impacted the meat industry. The new rules - which impact all types of protein products in the meat case - will now be delayed until March 2012.
A broad coalition of protein producers including the following groups: American Lamb Board; the American Meat Institute; the Food Marketing Institute; the National Cattlemen's Beef Association; the National Chicken Council; the National Grocers Association; the National Pork Board; the National Pork Producers Council; and the National Turkey Federation supported the move.
The coalition issued the following statement:
"The mandatory nutrition labeling rule will have a significant impact on the regulated entities, and we commend FSIS for recognizing the challenges we face and for extending the effective date. When FSIS announced this final rule last December, we began working to understand the new requirements to ensure implementation. Over the past 11 months, we have worked with FSIS to fully understand the rule's requirements, but we still have questions that need to be answered before a smooth implementation can occur.
"While we support efforts to educate consumers about the nutritional profile of meat and poultry products, it is crucial to get it right. Delaying the effective date for two months will give retailers and others in the food production chain additional time to implement labeling systems, to obtain necessary software and scales to properly label the products and to educate employees about the new requirements. We look forward to continuing to work with FSIS over the next five months to find the least disruptive and most cost-effective way to implement the rule."
The rule had originally been slated to go into effect on Jan. 1. You can check out the original rule HERE.