Reading Meat Labels

Reading Meat Labels

If you've picked up a package of hamburger meat, chicken breasts or pork chops lately, you might have noticed something new: Nutrition Facts. Certain meat products now require nutrition labeling.

Under the new USDA rule:

  1. All ground or chopped products (such as ground beef, ground pork and ground turkey) must have nutrition information on the package label.
  2. Major raw cuts of meat (such as steak, pork chops and chicken breast) must have nutrition information either on the label or on display to consumers — such as a sign or brochure — at the point-of-purchase.
  3. If a ground or chopped product includes a lean percentage statement on the label, it must also display the fat percentage. For example, it must say "90 percent lean/10 percent fat" rather than just "90/10."

The nutrition label will show total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sugars, protein, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron, as well as serving size. Servings per container is required for ground and chopped products, but is not mandatory for the major cuts. It may be listed as varied. Also, the label may include an additional, optional statement of nutrient content as consumed (cooked).

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