A new labeling process will give consumers more information about the nutritional content of the meat they're buying, the USDA has announced. The new labels, which will begin to appear on meat March 1, are not new nutritional guidelines, but they are an attempt to clarify the fat, protein, and other nutritional content of meat products to empower families to make the best, healthiest food choices.
The labels will appear on 40 popular cuts of meat and poultry, including ground beef and turkey, whole or boneless chicken pieces, and beef whole cuts such as brisket or tenderloin steak. The labels will be on the packages of meat, or available to consumers at meat counters.
"More and more, busy American families want nutrition information that they can quickly and easily understand," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release. "We need to do all we can to provide nutrition labels that will help consumers make informed decisions. The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services work hard to provide the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years, and now consumers will have another tool to help them follow these guidelines."
The nutrition facts panels will include the number of calories and the grams of total fat and saturated fat a product contains, the release explained. Additionally, any product that lists a lean percentage statement, such as "76% lean," on its label also will list its fat percentage, making it easier for consumers to understand the amounts of lean protein and fat in their purchase.
Image: Grocery store meat counter, via Shutterstock.