On August 29, 2019, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) petitioned FSIS to amend its labeling regulations to prohibit the statements “No Nitrate or Nitrite Added” and “Uncured” on meat products that have been processed using any sources of nitrates or nitrites, including non-synthetic sources, such as celery powder. The petition also requests that FSIS require that labeling of these products include the statement “nitrates or nitrites added” in lettering at least one-half the size and prominence of the product name. Additionally, the petition request that ingredients used as a source of nitrates or nitrites be declared as such in the product labeling, e.g., “celery powder (source of nitrates or nitrites for curing).” In addition, the petition requests that FSIS take additional steps to minimize levels of residual nitrates and nitrites in these products.

FSIS is seeking comments on this petition and anticipates that it may receive a significant number of comments. Therefore, to facilitate submission and public posting of comments, interested persons may submit comments online via the Federal eRulemaking portal at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FSIS-2019-0022 ; by mail, including CD-ROMs, sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3782, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700; or by hand or courier-delivery to 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Room 6065, Washington, DC 20250-3700. All comments must include the agency name and identification number FSIS-2019-0022.

Questions to consider when developing comments on this petition include:

  • How should labels for products with synthetic nitrites be distinguished from labels for products with non-synthetic sources of nitrites, such as cultured celery powder?
  • Is there any data on how consumers perceive the descriptive designations “uncured” vs. “cured”?

Comments on this petition will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to: http://www.regulations.gov . Comments should be submitted by November 12, 2019.

The petition is available on FSIS’ website at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/petitions .

Source: FSIS