from two or more ingredients, a statement of ingredients listed, by common or usual name, in descending order of predominance by weight, (3) an accurate statement of the quantity of contents, (4) the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor, (5) an inspection legend with the establishment number for the establishment where the product was made, (6) nutrition labeling unless an exemption exists, (7) a handling statement if the product is not shelf stable, and (8) safe handling instructions if the meat or poultry component of the product is not ready to eat (9 C.F.R. 317.2 9, 381 subpart N).
Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. §601), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. §451), and the Egg Products Inspection Act (81 U.S.C. §1620), FSIS conducts a “prior label approval system” for meat, poultry, and egg products. These Acts and their implementing regulations provide for certain exemption from USDA jurisdiction (e.g., products prepared for human consumption that contain meat or poultry ingredients in relatively small proportions or are not considered by consumers to be products of the meat or poultry industry).7
FSIS has over 80 food standards of identity for the meat and poultry products it regulates. For example, specific definitions exist that underlie what can be identified as “ham with natural juices” or “ham with water added.” FSIS also regulates the new use and labeling of food ingredients as they relate to FSIS standards of identity. Additionally, FSIS regulates claims and special statements on labeling, including animal production claims (e.g., “no added hormones”), processing statements (e.g., “treated for pathogen control”), and descriptive terms (e.g., “fresh”). FDA also has regulations governing use of the term “fresh.”
FSIS has promulgated regulations for the labeling of nutrient content claims on meat and poultry products (9 C.F.R. 317 subpart B, 381 subpart Y). These regulations are similar to those issued by FDA. FSIS has no regulations for the labeling of health claims, but
Generally, FSIS has determined by policy that the “relatively small proportions” of livestock ingredients are: 3 percent or less raw meat; less than 2 percent cooked meat or other portions of the carcass; or 30 percent or less fat, tallow or meat extract, alone or in combination. In the case of poultry, the relatively small proportions are: less than 2 percent cooked poultry meat; less than 10 percent cooked poultry skins, giblets, or fat, separately; or less than 10 percent cooked poultry skins, giblets, fat, and poultry meat (limited to less than 2 percent) in any combination (9 C.F.R. Part 381.15(a)). These percentages are computed on the basis of the moist cooked chicken in the ready-to-serve product when prepared according to the directions on the consumer package.