Meat, Poultry Nutritional Labels Will Hit Shelves in 2012

Label on a piece of meat
Label on a piece of meat

The USDA is rocking its comfortable relationship with some of its biggest constituents -- the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, for one -- with its announcement that nutritional labeling will be required beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

The new labels will detail the number of calories and the grams of total fat and saturated fat a product contains. Processed and prepared foods have long been required by the Food and Drug Administration to carry labels detailing the nutritional content, especially protein, fat and carbohydrates -- more recent requirements govern allergens, trans fatty acids, and soon, gluten content. But raw produce, fish, meat and poultry, have not fallen under the same requirements. In fact, the labeling of meat and poultry (but not fish) is governed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.