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USDA Sets Requirements for Meat and Poultry Labels

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a clarification on its requirements for accuracy in labeling of meat and poultry products. 

An Agri-Pulse report says the Food Safety and Inspection Service says the only way beef can be labeled “grass-fed” is if they fed on grass or forage 100 percent of the time after they were weaned. 

Because cattle would then have to have access to pasture until slaughter, they can’t ever be put into a feedlot. 

Products that come from animals with less than 100 percent access to grass or forage before slaughter can’t use the term grass-fed. 

The only way that can happen is if the label makes it clear that at least some of the animal’s dietary needs came from grain. 

As an example, the report says an acceptable label could be “Made from cows that are fed 85 percent grass and 15 percent corn.” 

The guidance that came out late last week also says certified organic products can be labeled legally as “raised without antibiotics” or “no added hormones” with no documentation required. 

The farm that produced the organic livestock or poultry, as well as the processor, have to be certified organic under USDA standards.

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