USDA to Increase Substantiation Requirements for Animal-Raising Claims
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USDA to Increase Substantiation Requirements for Animal-Raising Claims

On June 14, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) announced that it was implementing a multi-step effort to strengthen the substantiation of animal-raising claims. Animal-raising claims are voluntary marketing claims that highlight aspects of how the source animals used for meat and poultry are raised. These claims include “grass-fed,” “free-range,” or “raised without antibiotics.”

Currently, these claims must be approved by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (“FSIS”) before they can be included on labels sold to consumers.  USDA’s press release stated that FSIS had received several petitions and letters asking that the agency reconsider its oversight of animal-raising claims and how they are substantiated. In response, FSIS, and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service is conducting a sampling project to assess antibiotic residues in cattle that are part of the “raised without antibiotics” market. FSIS will also be issuing industry guidelines to recommend that companies making animal-raising claims invest in strengthened documentation and third-party certification to verify claims.

USDA suggested that rulemaking on animal-raising claims would be forthcoming, but the measures announced are guidelines rather than rules.

This publication is published by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. The publication is intended to present an overview of current legal trends; no article should be construed as representing advice on specific, individual legal matters. Articles may be reprinted with permission and acknowledgment. ECJ is a registered service mark of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. All rights reserved.

Tags: USDA


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