The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) has proposed to eliminate requirements that certain meat and poultry products display net weights using a dual declaration format (i.e. requiring that some products declare weight in both pounds and ounces). The proposal would remove the dual net weight declaration for meat or poultry products in packages of at least one pound or one pint, but less than four pounds or one gallon. This rulemaking was proposed in response to the FSIS docket seeing public input on regulations that should be reformed or repealed, a part of President Trumps regulatory reform agenda.
As outlined in 9 C.F.R. Sections 317.2(h)(5) and 381.121(c)(5), these packages currently must bear a net weight label that declares the contents in both ounces and pounds or specific units for liquid products. However, under the proposal, one unit of measurement would be used on the product label, instead of using both measures. For example, a product would state “Net Wt. 24 oz.” or “Net Wt. 1.5 lbs.” rather than “Net Wt. 24 oz. (1.5 lbs.).”
If finalized, FSIS would permit meat and poultry product companies to exhaust existing dual declaration label inventory or to continue using the existing dual declaration label indefinitely.
In a statement issued with the proposal, FSIS Administrator Carmen Rottenberg said, “[i]t’s simply good government to review old regulations to see if they are outdated and burdensome. FSIS doesn’t believe that a duplicative labeling requirement helps consumers and sees it as an unnecessary requirement for industry.” This signals that FSIS is reviewing and acting on industry recommendations for regulations that are in need of change. FSIS-regulated entities should consider if there are additional opportunities for regulatory reform and submit such information to the agency.
FSIS is seeking comments on the proposal until June 17, 2019.
Husch Blackwell has experience advising meat, poultry and egg product processors on the regulation of their products. Our FDA lawyers are available to discuss the proposal and if adopted how it would impact their products’ labeling. Contact Seth Mailhot, Emily Lyons, or your Husch Blackwell attorney.