January 23, 2020

Labeling Guideline for Animal Raising Claims Revised

Labeling Guideline for Animal Raising Claims Revised

The Labeling Guideline on Documentation Needed to Substantiate Animal Raising Claims for Label Submissions was revised from the 2002 original guideline and updated using public comments posted in October 2016. The guideline, released by The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), addresses meat and poultry claims about how animals are raised.

Any label including an animal raising claim must be submitted to FSIS with appropriate documentation to support the claim. Added information is available in the guideline about the terminology that accompanies claims regarding living or raising conditions, such as “free range”. Claims used to reveal that animals were not administrated antibiotics at any point in the animal production process have been added as well. There was also an update regarding the term “raised without hormones”. For pork products, this statement is no longer required due to the federal law authorizing the use of certain hormones in pigs.

Kelly Nuckolls, Food Safety Policy Specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) stated that NSAC is pleased that NSIS clarified that the USDA organic label is proper documentation for making a variety of claims that are supported by the organic claim, and the new guideline will reduce duplicative paperwork for organic farmers.

FSIS received more than 4,000 public comments on the labeling guideline. Read the revised guideline here.