Coming Soon: Nutrition Facts on Meat Products

The USDA announced Wednesday that nutrition labels would be required on meat.

ByABC News
December 29, 2010, 5:00 PM

Dec. 30 2010— -- Meat eaters will soon know the nutrition facts on their favorite cuts of beef, pork and poultry, whether they want to know them or not.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that 40 popular cuts of meat would soon be required to have nutrition fact panels on their labels, much like the thousands of other products found in the grocery store. Whole, raw cuts of meat and poultry will also have nutrition fact labels, either on the package or at the point-of-purchase.

"Consumers are used to seeing these types of nutrition fact labeling on other products out there in the market, and now they can have this same important information in meat and poultry," said Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, USDA undersecretary for food safety. "We're excited to provide this tool to American consumers."

The new facts will be required on Jan. 1, 2012, and will include information much like the facts found on other grocery products, such as calorie content and total grams of fat and saturated fat.

Products that list a lean percentage must include the percentage of fat in the product, as well. The USDA hopes that this added number will help consumers better understand the amount of lean protein versus fat in the meat.

"This is long overdue," said Dr. Peter McCullough, chief academic and scientific officer for St. John Providence Health System in Detroit. "The more comprehensive reporting we have regarding nutritional content, the better."

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, chairwoman of the FDA and Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, said that the new rule would help consumers make more informed choices for their families.

"Our country is facing an obesity epidemic, and if we are to make any progress against this problem, it is critical that consumers have access to nutrition information about the foods they buy at restaurant said grocery stores," DeLauro said in a statement.

And Beth Kitchin, assistant professor of nutrition sciences at University of Alabama at Birmingham, was also happy to see the change.