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December 6, 2011

USDA to streamline generic labelling approval

The US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed a new rule to modify the agency's generic label approval process.

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed a new rule to modify the agency's generic label approval process.

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed a new rule to modify the agency’s generic label approval process.

USDA undersecretary for food safety Elisabeth Hagen said it is important that the agency makes the labelling process more effective and efficient, while still ensuring consumers have the best information available when shopping for food.

The rule has been designed to allow retail establishments to label a broader range of products without first submitting the label to the FSIS for approval.

The federal agency believes the rule will benefit consumers as they get new products in the marketplace sooner while still ensuring they are not misbranded.

It also expects the convenient and cost-effective process will benefit smaller producers to introduce their products in the market.

The FSIS will continue to verify that labels are accurate, not misleading and in compliance with FSIS labelling features.

Effective 1 July 1996, FSIS meat and poultry regulations 9 CFR 317.5 and 381.133 respectively streamlined the label approval process and allowed establishments more flexibility.

Labelling materials that qualify for generic approvals include labelling for single-ingredient products (beef steak, lamb chops, chicken legs or turkey breasts) which do not contain any special claims, labelling for containers of products sold under contract specifications to federal government agencies, labelling for shipping containers which contain fully labelled immediate containers and labelling for products not intended for human food.

The materials also include labelling for consumer test products not intended for sale and labelling which was previously approved by the Food Labeling Division as sketch labelling.

Caption: The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed a new rule to modify the agency’s generic label approval process. Image courtesy of JSquish.

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