REDMEATSTEAK

Go to the supermarket and start pulling products off the shelves and you’ll see everything has nutrition labels, even water! And now, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says starting in 2012, nutrition labels will be mandatory on many popular cuts of meat and poultry too.

“We need to do all we can to provide nutrition labels that will help consumers make informed decisions,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a press release, “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 new labels will take effect January 1, 2012 and will list the number of calories, grams of total fat and saturated fat in meat and chicken. The nutrition facts will also list the “lean” and fat percentage of products.

But the response to the USDA’s plan has been mixed. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) doesn’t think the measures are enough to provide benefits to the consumer and fear adding the term “lean” will only confuse people.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association supports the labeling, but says the industry will need 18 to 24 months to implement the new requirements and is worried the new measures will burden retailers with increased costs. We’re not sure why they need so long to implement what is standard for every other industry and seemingly simple, nor what costs this will bring to retailers considering they already provide labels on their meat products, but…

In related news, Whole Foods will start offering “humane” meat products; using a ranking system to determine how well the animals have been treated.

Image credit: splorp