October 23, 2007
Grass fed beef labeling standards
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is establishing a voluntary standard for a grass (forage)fed livestock marketing claim. This standard incorporates revisions made as a result of comments received from an earlier proposed standard. A number of livestock producers make claims associated with production practices in order to distinguish their products in the marketplace. With the establishment of this voluntary standard, livestock producers may request that a grass (forage) fed claim be verified by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Verification of this claim will be accomplished through an audit of the production process in accordance with procedures that are contained in Part 62 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR part 62), and the meat sold from these approved programs can carry a claim verified by USDA.
One of the issues was the percentage of an animal's diet that had to come from grass (forage). The original proposed rule was 80 percent but after an initial comment period, the proposal was changed to 99 percent. The final rule announced in the notice removes the percentage altogether:
Therefore, AMS will not adopt any of the other suggested percentage levels and will remove any reference to a percentage in the standard. Accordingly, the grass (forage) fed marketing claim will only apply to ruminant animals whose diet throughout their lifespan is derived solely from grass (forage), with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning.
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