US rolls out new meat labelling regulations

21st November 2013 - Fine Cut

Food manufacturers in the US are preparing to roll out new labelling measures for meat products following a federal ruling.

Set to launch this Saturday (November 23rd), the regulations will require producers to include several important details on packaging - including the country of origin, as well as where livestock was born, raised and slaughtered.

As part of the plans, manufacturers of pork, beef and other meets will have to comply with the legislation, along with other measures if they wish to use terms including "natural" as part of their advertising or packaging operations.

Bob Zelnick, an intellectual property partner at international law firm McDermott, Will & Emery, said: "Beyond whether use of such words complies with the myriad regulations from the sometimes-overlapping reach of Food Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, and (in the case of alcohol beverages) Tax and Trade Bureau, compliance with the regulations typically does not insulate advertisers from consumer class action complaints that use of such terms has been false or misleading."

The official went on to say that the move comes in response to a rise in federal court complaints in California and New Jersey over the appropriate labelling of products. He said navigating the false advertising standards of the federal trademark law is an "essential element" of advertising clearance on such issues.

The problem of food labelling methods across the globe has been the subject of considerable media coverage in recent years, as officials recognise the importance of providing consumers with more information over the ingredients found in their shopping.

Regulators in Ireland said members of the public are increasingly being misled by food labels, who may not be aware that some produce they consume is imported from different countries.

The Irish Farmers Association recently claimed that more than half of pigmeat sold in the country is not correctly labelled with its country of origin.

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