USDA Requires Nutrition Labels on Cuts of Meat and Poultry

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Wednesday that it will require many cuts of raw meat and poultry to feature detailed nutritional information, including calorie and fat content. The new labels will appear either on the packages themselves, or be available at the store.

The federal rule, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, will apply to 40 of the most commonly purchased single-ingredient cuts of beef, lamb, poultry and pork, including boneless chicken breast, brisket and ground meats like hamburger and turkey.

Much like the Nutrition Facts labels that currently appear on processed foods, the new labels will list the total number of calories, the number of calories from fat, total grams of fat and saturated fat. The labels will also include information on protein, cholesterol, sodium and vitamin content.

“More and more, busy American families want nutrition information that they can quickly and easily understand,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement. “We need to do all we can to provide nutrition labels that will help consumers make informed decisions. The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services work hard to provide the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years, and now consumers will have another tool to help them follow these guidelines.”