The American Meat Institute (AMI) has called on the US government to clarify draft guidelines on how to operate a new labelling law, which will require the declaration of the name of the country where a food item originated.

While processed meat products will not be subject to these country-of-origin rules, the AMI says Washington's proposals have badly defined what actually constitutes a processed product. They allow regulators to rely on their own subjectivity in deciding whether products have been "materially changed," says the trade group.

Because many meat companies add seasonings, marinated products, and engage in other processing steps to many products, it is unclear, says the AMI, which of those products would be exempt.