Background

The Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has issued a final rule stating that compliance with meat and poultry food product labeling regulations issued between Jan. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2020, will only be required for such products introduced into commerce on or after Jan. 1, 2022. Comments on this rule are due by Jan. 7.

The FSIS notes that two-year increments for compliance dates enhance the industry's ability to make orderly adjustments to new labeling requirements without exposing consumers to outdated labels. With this approach, meat and poultry producers are able to plan for the use of label inventories and develop new labeling materials that meet the requirements of all labeling regulations made within the two-year period, thereby minimizing the economic impact of labeling changes. 

In the past the FSIS has nevertheless encouraged meat and poultry companies to comply with new labeling regulations as soon as it is feasible; however, such language does not appear in the current notice.

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