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FSIS Delays Labeling Rules Implementation

FSIS Delays Labeling Rules Implementation
Coalition request for more time to get final rule 'right' is granted.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service will delay for two months, until March 1, 2012, the effective date for enforcement of the "Nutrition Labeling of Single-Ingredient Products and Ground or Chopped Meat and Poultry Products" final rule. The announcement was made in response to a request from a coalition of organizations representing food, agriculture and retail associations that will be affected by the final rule to ensure they have time to implement the newly required nutrition labels.

According to the coalition, the mandatory nutrition labeling rule will have a significant impact on the regulated entities. The coalition says over the past 11 months, they have worked with FSIS to fully understand the rule's requirements, but still have questions that need to be answered before a smooth implementation can occur. The coalition supports efforts to educate consumers about the nutritional profile of meat and poultry products, but insists it is crucial to get it right.

In a statement the groups say, "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 coalition members are: the 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 Producer Council and the National Turkey Federation.

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