The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finalised a rule to ensure that the voluntary ‘Product of USA’ label claim accurately reflects consumer expectations. 

The rule was announced by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack at the country’s National Farmers Union Annual Convention. 

It follows the USDA’s announcement of the proposed rule with new regulatory requirements in March 2023 and a 60-day feedback window. 

As per the ruling, meat, poultry, and egg products can now only carry the Product of USA or ‘Made in the USA’ label if derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the US. 

The new rule is intended to prevent misleading origin labelling in the market.

In addition, Vilsack revealed a $9.5m investment in 42 projects through the Local Meat Capacity grant programme. 

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The investment will enhance processing options for the meat and poultry industry and promote transparency and competitiveness in the US seed industry. 

Meanwhile, the Product of USA label will remain voluntary and eligible for generic label approval and establishments will be required to maintain documentation to support the claim.  

This means the label will not need preapproval by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service but will necessitate substantiation by the producer. 

Vilsack said: “Today’s announcement is a vital step toward consumer protection and builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to bolster trust and fairness in the marketplace where smaller processors can compete.  

“This final rule will ensure that when consumers see ‘Product of USA’ they can trust the authenticity of that label and know that every step involved, from birth to processing, was done here in America.”