U.S.D.A. seeks comments on 'natural' meat labeling

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking for additional public input on the use of the voluntary claim "natural" in the labeling of meat and poultry products, according to a filing in the Sept. 14 issue of the Federal Register.

The comments, which are due by Nov. 13, 2009, will be considered along with comments submitted and presented to the F.S.I.S. in December 2006.

"F.S.I.S. has concluded that a further solicitation of comments could produce information that would help to clarify and resolve the issues surrounding the ‘natural’ claim," the F.S.I.S. said. "Moreover, additional comment will help F.S.I.S. to assess how best to coordinate with its regulation of ‘natural’ claims with the standards for voluntary marketing claims developed by the Agricultural Marketing Service (A.M.S.), particularly with A.M.S.’s ‘naturally raised’ marketing claim standard."

The F.S.I.S. said it received more than 12,000 comments on the issue of "natural" when it first discussed the matter in December 2006.

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