The USDA has created a new rule, in effect today, giving consumers nutritional information on ground meat and ground poultry, along with popular meat and poultry cuts. Prior to this new law, the USDA only required a product to have a nutrition label if it contained extra ingredients, like a marinade or filler.
The new laws are as follows:
• Nutrition labels are not required to include the amount of trans fat in a product. According the USDA, about 80% of products give this information voluntarily.
• All ground meat and ground poultry MUST show a nutrition label.
• When showing the amount of lean meat in a ground meat product, the fat percentage must also be shown.
• 40 popular cuts of meat and poultry, including but not limited to: Porterhouse steaks, chicken breasts, pork chops, crown roasts, etc. will now be required to show nutritional information as well.
• The nutritional information on these non ground cuts of meat are based on the average values for that particular cut.
• Nutritional panels will include: Grams of total fat, grams of saturated fat, and calories the product contains.
• Small business meat grinding companies will not be required to follow this rule. As long as they show the lean and fat information and do not advertise and other nutritional claims. According to the USDA, approximately 95% of the industry is made up of small business grinders.
The USDA hopes these changes will help consumers make educated decisions when it comes to the food products they buy. And not to worry, these changes are only expected to add a half a penny to the cost of these meat and poultry products.