WASHINGTON (FNS) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it would issue its final regulation this week on safe-handling labels for fresh meat and poultry.
The new regulation will require labeling of all raw or partially cooked ground meat and poultry products within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. All whole meat products will be required to carry the label by July 6, according to USDA, which didn't release further details.
The mandated label will include information on cooking temperatures, proper cleaning of knives and cutting boards and correct storage procedures for leftovers.
The instructional label, intended to ensure consumers properly cook and handle meat to kill any bacteria, has been the focus of industry debate since it was first proposed last August. Initially the label would have become mandatory within 30 days of the August date. A lawsuit by the National-American Wholesale Grocers' Association, National Grocers Association and Texas Food Industry Association blocked the implementation of that label plan with its claim that USDA was illegally rushing the label into use.
Tom Zaucha, president of NGA, said last week it appears the USDA has followed legal rule-making procedures this time. He said he was glad to see USDA wants a single label for both meat and poultry.