SAFEGUARDS | Food NO. 188/16
The United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) has announced its proposal to change specific requirements of the nutrition facts panel for meat and poultry products.  These changes are similar to those finalized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) on May 27 2016 in their new Nutrition Facts. The Nutrition Facts regulations for meat and poultry will be combined in a new section of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 9 CFR part 413.
USDA FSIS proposed changes:
- Update the list of nutrients that are required or permitted to be declared such as removal of the requirement to declare calories from fat, add a requirement for the declaration of added sugars, vitamin D and potassium and also allow vitamins A and C to be voluntarily declared
- Provide updated Daily Reference Values (DRVs) and Reference Daily Intake (RDI) values that are based on current dietary recommendations from consensus reports which are aligned with the US FDA changes
- Amend the labeling requirements for foods represented, or purported to be specifically for, children under the age of four years, pregnant women and lactating women, and establish nutrient reference values specifically for these population subgroups in alignment with the US FDA requirements
- Revise the format and appearance of the Nutrition Facts label so the USDA FSIS format will be the same as the US FDA format
- Amend the definition of a single-serving container so that individual packages that contain less than 200 percent of reference amounts customarily consumed (RACC) must be labeled as single serve containers
- Require dual-column labeling for containers that contain 200 percent or more (up to and including 300 percent) of the applicable RACC
- Update and modify several RACCs, or reference amounts, in order to better represent the amount being consumed, clarify how the RACC is to be determined and add RACCs for items that have been established by the US FDA where there is a comparable item category for meat and poultry
What does this Mean for the Food Industry?
In the next few years there will be many label changes needed for foods sold in the United States. Fortunately, the USDA FSIS and US FDA changes are aligned but even then, expert advice in label, analytical testing and nutrient level determination will need to be obtained in order to assure compliance.
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