On April 16, the Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) of USDA announced the publication of a proposed rule amending the labeling regulations for net content statements on meat and poultry. FSIS proposes to remove the requirement for dual declaration of net weight and net content on packages that contain at least one pound or one pint, but less than four pounds or one gallon.
FSIS is proposing this action after receiving a petition submitted by a small meat processor in response to USDA’s request for ideas to better serve its customers. As described in the preamble to the proposed rule, the requirement for dual declaration has created confusion for industry. Under the proposed rule, establishments that produce meat and poultry products in packages containing at least 1 lb. or one pint and less than 4 lb. or 1 gal. will be allowed to express the weight or contents in one unit of measurement on the product label instead of using both measures — e.g., “Net Wt. 24 oz.” or “Net Wt. 1.5 lb.” rather than “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1.5 lb.). Establishments would be allowed to use their current labels until they run out or may elect to use them indefinitely.
FDA regulations for net content statement include a similar requirement. It will be interesting to see if someone petitions FDA to also amend its regulation.
Comments to the proposal must be submitted by June 17, 2019.