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The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry and egg products are safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled. FSIS enforces the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act, which require the federal inspection of meat and poultry products prepared for distribution in commerce for use as human food.

The Labeling and Consumer Protection office of FSIS develops policies and inspection methods and administers programs to protect consumers from misbranded and economically adulterated meat, poultry, and egg products. The purpose of the office's activities is to ensure that all labels are truthful and not misleading. Labeling includes all forms of product identification, claims, net weight, species identification and nutrition related to meat, poultry and egg products.

An important label for meat safety is the safe handling label. This label was created to educate consumer on proper handling of meat and poultry products. It highlights the steps of refrigeration, separating raw meat and poultry products from other foods and cleaning thoroughly and cooking thoroughly and keeping them at the correct temperature(s).

Another important label is the date label. Although there is no uniform or universally accepted system used for food dating in the United States, a label could contain information such as cooking instructions, calendar dates and/or weight.

Dating, however is not required by Federal regulations. For more information, click here.

 

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