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New Meat Packaging Labels Raise Concerns

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New Meat Packaging Labels Raise Concerns

Rules for new meat packaging labels, slated to take effect in January 2012, provide no new consumer benefit, according to The Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The new rule mandates that by next year, 40 cuts of meat bear nutritional labels that includes information on a product's number of calories, calories from fat, total grams of fat and saturated fat, protein, cholesterol, sodium and vitamins.

The CSPI claims that most meat packaging already bears this labeling. It had pushed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do away with "percent lean" labeling on ground meat packaging.

"Use of the word 'lean' in the context of ground beef is designed to deceive," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director at CSPI.

"The meat industry has insisted on labeling ground meat that way to make ground beef appear leaner. Consumers assume that they are following advice to eat lean meat when they purchase ground beef that is 80 percent lean, yet it is one of the fattiest meats on the market. Nutrition facts labels don't correct that deception," he added.

The CSPI had also pushed for meat packaging to properly outline a cut of meat's serving size, as many Americans consume up to quadruple the serving size when eating steak.