Hamburger meat purchased by consumers is one of the products affected by the new nutritional labeling rule.

Nutritional Labels Coming to Meat Products

The rule announced Dec. 29 by USDA will take effect Jan. 1, 2012. It means consumers will see the labels on hamburger and 39 other common products they buy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has published a rule that will require nutritional information on the labels of 40 of the most popular cuts of meat and poultry products. Whole, raw cuts of meat and poultry also will have nutrition facts panels either on their package labels or available at the point of purchase.

"More and more, busy American families want nutrition information that they can quickly and easily understand," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "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."

Included will be the number of calories and the grams of total fat and saturated fat a product contains. Any product listing a lean percentage statement, such as "76% lean," on its label also will list its fat percentage.

Affected products include whole or boneless chicken breasts and other pieces, beef brisket, tenderloin steak, hamburger, and ground turkey. This rule becomes effective Jan. 1, 2012, and can be found here.

For more information in English or Spanish, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854), which is available from l0:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST weekdays. Producers or retailers seeking more information should contact: Rosalyn Murphy-Jenkins, Director, Labeling and Program Delivery Division, Office of Policy and Program Development, Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD 20705, or by phone at 301-504-0878.

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