The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA’s FSIS) has expanded its generic label approval regulations to include certain categories of meat, poultry, and egg products, beginning March 19, 2023. The final rule, published on January 18, 2023, also responds to comments received on the September 2020 proposal.

The final rule will expand generic approval to the labels of products that are only intended for foreign commerce, even if such labels deviate from U.S. labeling requirements; labels of products that receive voluntary FSIS inspection; labels with “geographic landmarks;” labels with “negative” claims that identify the absence of certain ingredients or types of ingredients; and labels with “organic” claims in the ingredients statement. FSIS will continue to require prior approval of labels that display “organic” claims outside the ingredients statement, including those certifying a total product as organic. FSIS will no longer evaluate generically approved labels that establishments voluntarily submit for FSIS review.

FSIS has also announced the availability of the revised FSIS Guideline for Label Approval for the types of labels that must be submitted to FSIS for approval. FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on the revised FSIS Guideline for Label Approval on or before February 17, 2023, as described in the Federal Register notice.