The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 29, 2010; 4:56 PM
WASHINGTON -- The Agriculture Department will require many meat labels to include the number of calories and other nutritional information starting in 2012 so that consumers can make healthier decisions about what they eat.
The rule announced Wednesday is part of the government's effort to educate Americans about nutrition and diets. It applies to 40 of the most popular cuts of meat and poultry products. Ground meat and poultry will have the facts on their labels. Raw cuts will offer the information on labels or to consumers where it's purchased.
Labels will list grams of total fat and saturated fat, and fat percentages for products already offering lean percentages.
Major cuts affected are boneless chicken breasts, brisket and tenderloin steak. The rule also affects hamburgers and ground turkey.
"More and more, busy American families want nutrition information that they can quickly and easily understand," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. "We need to do all we can to provide nutrition labels that will help consumers make informed decisions."
The information panels should give consumers enough information at the store to determine the nutrient content of different cuts, the department said. That will help people buy the right products to maintain a healthy diet and meet the needs of their families.