U.S.D.A. improving meat, egg labeling process

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has introduced an Internet-based label approval system for the review of meat, poultry and egg product labels. The Label Submission Approval System will make it possible for food manufacturers to submit label applications electronically, will flag application submission errors that could delay the approval process, and will allow users to track the progress of their submission.

“This new system will expedite and simplify the review process for meat, poultry and egg product labels,” said Elisabeth Hagen, under secretary for food safety. “Reducing the review times for labels will enhance the agency’s ability to ensure that accurate information is applied to product labels and reaches consumers quickly.”

The F.S.I.S. reviews labels on the products it regulates to ensure they are truthful. The L.S.A.S. will reduce the time and costs incurred by both the industry and the agency. Until the launch of L.S.A.S., companies mailed or hand delivered paper applications to the agency, and the F.S.I.S. reviewed and corrected them before returning them in hard copy.

The F.S.I.S. receives 150 to 200 label submissions daily, and it may take more than three weeks for a label to be reviewed. The Internet-based system will make approved or corrected labels immediately available to companies, saving time and mailing costs. The system also will allow companies to store labels and make changes electronically, which removes the need to print and re-submit modified labels for review to the F.S.I.S. each time a change is made.

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