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FSIS Seeking Further Comment on Use of the Voluntary Claim `Natural' in the Labeling of Meat and Poultry Products

Monday, September 14, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced through the publication of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) that it is soliciting additional public comment regarding use of the voluntary claim "natural" on the labeling of meat and poultry products.

FSIS is seeking comments to clarify and resolve issues surrounding the "natural" claim, including how best to coordinate FSIS' regulation of "natural" claims with the Agricultural Marketing Service's voluntary "naturally raised" marketing claim standard.

The current FSIS policy states that the term "natural" may be used in the labeling of meat and poultry products provided that the product does not contain any artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredients, chemical preservative, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient and that the product is not more than minimally processed.

In October 2006, FSIS received a petition requesting that it initiate rulemaking to establish a codified definition for the voluntary claim "natural" and to delineate the conditions under which the claim can be used on the labels of meat and poultry products. In December 2006, FSIS held a public meeting and requested comments on "natural" claims.  In the ANPR FSIS indicated that it had received a high volume of comments expressing divergent views on the use of the claim "natural."

Comments on the ANPR must be received by November 13, 2009.  Comments can be sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 5601 Sunnyside Ave, Room 2-2127, Beltsville, Md. 20705; or through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov and in the "Search for Open Regulations" box, select "Food Safety and Inspection Service" from the agency drop-down menu and then click on "Submit." In the Docket ID column, select FDMS Docket Number FSIS-2006-0040A to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

The ANPR can be viewed at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Frame/FrameRedirect.asp?main=http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FRPubs/2006-0040A.pdf

To view AMI’s memo on the notice, click here:

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