USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently announced it is extending the comment period on the proposed rule amending the voluntary “Product of USA” label.

Originally released on March 13, 2023, the deadline was proposed to be May 12. USDA has moved that deadline 30 days back to June 11, 2023.

Mandatory country of origin labeling – wherein a product imported to the U.S. would be required by USDA to bear a label indicating the country of origin of the product – was implemented by USDA for all meats, including chicken, in 2009. After multiple international court cases, USDA rescinded that requirement for beef and pork. However, mandatory requirements have remained ever since for the chicken industry.

Additionally, USDA in March 2023 announced a proposed rule to redefine USDA’s criteria for making voluntary “Made in USA” claims for meat and poultry products.

Distinctly from the existing mandatory country of origin labeling, the proposed rule on “Product of USA” would require meat and poultry products meet the following conditions to bear a “Product of USA” or “Made in USA” claim:

  • All meat or poultry components are derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the U.S.; and
  • If a multi-ingredient product, all other ingredients (except for spices and flavorings) are of domestic origin.

USDA would also allow companies to make voluntary claims focusing on the U.S. origin of specific components of a product, provided the label includes language explaining the claim. Companies would be required to implement written programs to ensure supply chain integrity to support all “Made in USA” or “Product of USA” claims.

The proposed rule would not change mandatory country of origin labeling requirements already applicable to raw single-ingredient chicken sold at retail, such as a tray-pack chicken. Those products would still be required to declare the country where the chicken was hatched, raised, and harvested if the proposed rule were finalized.

The full proposed rule can be found here.