USDA Proposal on USA Labeling


A proposed rule issued yesterday by the Agriculture Department contains new regulatory requirements aimed at better aligning the voluntary “Product of USA” label claim with consumer understanding of what the claim means.

The proposed rule allows the voluntary “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA” label claim to be used on meat, poultry and egg products only when they are derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.

The increased clarity and transparency provided by this proposed change would prevent consumer confusion and help ensure that consumers understand where their food comes from, according to USDA.

“American consumers expect that when they buy a meat product at the grocery store, the claims they see on the label mean what they say,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack commented. “These proposed changes are intended to provide consumers with accurate information to make informed purchasing decisions.”

Comprehensive Review

The proposed rule comes following a comprehensive review to understand what the “Product of

USA” claim means to consumers.. As part of its review, USDA commissioned a nationwide consumer survey. The survey revealed that the current “Product of USA” labeling claim is misleading to a majority of consumers surveyed, with a significant portion believing the claim means that the product was made from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States, USDA said.

Under the proposed rule, the “Product of USA” label claim would continue to be voluntary. It would also remain eligible for generic label approval, meaning it would not need to be pre-approved by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service before it could be used on regulated product. But it would require supporting documentation to be on file for agency inspection personnel to verify.

The rulemaking also proposes to allow other voluntary US origin claims on meat, poultry and egg products sold in the marketplace. These claims would need to include a description on the package of all preparation and processing steps that occurred in the United States upon which the claim is made.


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