The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that while it is rulemaking to update the Nutrition Facts label for meat and poultry, companies can voluntarily use the recently approved FDA Nutrition Facts label format.

The FSIS will not hold companies in noncompliance if they use the FDA label during the rulemaking period as long as the information is truthful and not misleading. Once the FSIS format is finalized, use of the FDA label will no longer be allowed if it is formatted differently than the FSIS label.

FDA published two final rules (81 FR 33742 and 81 FR 34000) in May to set guidelines for food labeling and update the Nutrition Facts label. FSIS determined that it is necessary to offer nutrition labeling guidelines for meat and poultry that match the FDA regulations as closely as possible.

Companies that wish to use the FDA format until the FSIS format is established will be required to submit one label sketch in the FDA format to the FSIS’s Labeling and Program Delivery Staff (LPDS) for approval. Subsequent labels can be generically approved.