The USA is clamping down on food labelling, especially on meat and poultry produce sold in grocery stores.
The United States Department of Agriculture is spearheading the multi-step plan to create stricter ‘animal-raising’ label requirements.
According to a statement from the USDA to this publication (www.thatsfarming.com), its intention is to protect consumers from misleading labels.
Recent studies, including one by George Washington University researchers, have shown that the current regulations (last updated in 2-19) for what can and cannot be labelled, especially on ‘antibiotic-free’ or ‘humanely-raised’ meats, are “not always accurate”.
Lance B. Price is director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at the George Washington University and professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health.
He led a 2022 study that showed that many of the ‘raised without antibiotics’ labels were inaccurate.
As founding director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center, he also released a statement in response to the USDA’s announcement.
He said that he applauds the announcement that the US Department of Agriculture will “re-examine how the agency substantiates animal raising claims that companies use to market their meat and poultry products”.
“Given the confusing proliferation of animal raising claims, from antibiotic use to humane treatment to pasture-raised, it is more important than ever for consumers to know these claims are backed not only by standards, but also by rigorous documentation, farm audits, and empirical testing.”
“Companies know consumers are moved by animal rights, so they often link reduced antibiotic use claims to improved animal welfare.”
These claims, he stressed, must be backed by empirical testing to validate producers who are truthfully using these claims and protect consumers from false and misleading labels.”
“Consumers pay a premium when purchasing raised without antibiotics product.”
“They should get what they are paying for, and society as a whole should benefit from genuine reduction or elimination of antibiotic use in animal agriculture.”
Equally important, he added, consumers should be able to trust in the USDA-verified claims on all meat and poultry products they buy, whether in the grocery store or online.”
Previous farming news article on www.thatsfarming.com: Ireland has imported just under 190,000t of beef in last 5 years