USDA Launches Effort to Strengthen Substantiation of Animal-Raising Claims

  29 June 2023

he U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today that it is implementing a multi-step effort aimed at strengthening the substantiation of animal-raising claims. This action builds on the significant work USDA has already undertaken to protect consumers from false and misleading labels and to implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American economy.

Animal-raising claims, such as “grass-fed” and “free-range,” are voluntary marketing claims that highlight certain aspects of how the source animals for meat and poultry products are raised. These claims must be approved by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) before they can be included on the labels of meat and poultry products sold to consumers. FSIS most recently updated its guideline on these claims in 2019.

FSIS has received several petitions, comments, and letters from a wide range of stakeholders asking the agency to reevaluate its oversight of animal-raising claims, specifically, how they are substantiated. In addition, the veracity of “negative” antibiotics claims (e.g., “raised without antibiotics” or “no antibiotics ever”) has come into question.

FSIS, in partnership with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), will be conducting a sampling project to assess antibiotic residues in cattle destined for the “raised without antibiotics” market. The results of this project will help inform whether FSIS should require that laboratory testing results be submitted for the “raised without antibiotics” claim or start a new verification sampling program

Further reading: USDA
Author(s): USDA
Healthy Animals   Secure Foods  
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