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New USDA Rule Would Require Meat Additives On Nutrition Labels

New USDA Rule Would Require Meat Additives On Nutrition Labels

 

Additives in meat can cause sodium content to be higher than consumers realize. Currently, meat with additives is not labeled. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing a new rule concerning labeling meat additives. The proposed rule was posted a few weeks ago on the USDA’s FSIS website. There is a 60 day period when people can comment.

The USDA first proposed a meat labeling rule in 2001 but allowed it to “languish for eight years during the Bush administration,” according to a report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest titled Food Labeling Chaos.

About one-third of poultry, 15 percent of beef and 90 percent of pork may contain additives, with an average of about 40 percent in all raw meat. A press release announcing the proposed rule sites the example of two chicken breasts, one with additives and one without: both have the same label even though the one with the additives may be only 60 percent chicken breast and 40 percent solution. The proposed rule would list “chicken breast – 40% added solution of water and teriyaki sauce.” The description of the additives must be in a “font, size, and color that are easily visible to consumers.”

“Consumers should be able to make an informed choice in the store, which is why we need to provide clear, informative labels that will help consumers make the best decisions about feeding their families,” said Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. “It has become evident that some raw meat and poultry labels, even those that follow our current guidelines, may not be clear.”

“Who wants to pay $4.99 a pound for the added water and salt?” said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Besides cheating customers financially, ‘enhancing’ meat and poultry delivers a stealth hit of sodium.”

Food labels in general need to be updated

There are problems in general with food labels. FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in a 2009 speech to the National Food Policy Conference, “The public health importance of food labeling as an essential means for informing consumers about proper nutrition…has not been substantially addressed since the FDA implemented the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, more than 16 years ago.”

Hamburg also noted, “We’ve seen the emergence of claims that may not provide the full picture of their products’ true nutritional value. It will be important to reestablish a science-based approach to protect the public.”

The nutrition facts label on food products has not been updated for over one and a half decades, and requirements for listing ingredients on processed foods have not been comprehensively updated since 1938, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest report. The report mentions that ingredients are still allowed to be listed in tiny print, and the percentages of key ingredients are generally not allowed to be listed in tiny print.

Related Stories:

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Photo credit: labormikro

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55 comments

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11:34AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

4:41AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

I don't eat the stuff but this is a darned good idea. Thanks.

5:50AM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

good idea

5:19AM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:38PM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

@ Yvette T—Sorry, this just in. There aren’t any sacred beings in the universe, not even humans.

7:17PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

Disgusting. This photo of a part of what should be walking and experiencing life freely, now a bloody mass of tissue...how is it that people are taught that it is okay to do this to a sacred being in this Universe? It is simply WRONG.

1:28PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

I think this is great they are doing this but the vegans should stop saying their diet is the answer to all life problems it's not

7:20PM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

so glad i'm a vegetarian!

12:41PM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Thanks Gina-Marie~

1:55AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

If it is helpfull, here are some links to avoid the nasty additives, GMOs, CAFOs, Industrial Ag in general. The serious thing to avoid, both for sustainability's sake and to reduce real harm to wildlife, is to avoid food miles. Locavore Network offers a search engine http://www.locavorenetwork.com/proximity but I notice that is does not get everyone so http://www.localharvest.org/ and
http://www.farmaid.org/site/c.qlI5IhNVJsE/b.2723709/k.82C7/Find_Good_Food.htm

You can find CAFO-free meats and eggs through the American Grassfed Association and the people that treat their milch cows decently via a website called realmilk.com I found mine that way and get to see some adorable Jerseys whenever I get to go. I've even taken my Sunday school kids to see a "Real Dairy" there, where they got to see the girls milked and pet the numerous creatures that cohabit on their farm. Lovely place.

I like a resource that allows a buyer to come out and look over the place to make sure that the farmer is ethical and humane. Another good resource is http://www.eathumane.org/

Avoiding GMOs
http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/

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