Only locally reared meat, poultry and eggs will be able to carry ‘Made in the USA’ labels, under a new US Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal.

The planned regulation is designed to help consumers better understand the claims of ‘Product of USA’ or ‘Made in the USA’ labels, which are voluntary in their application, the USDA said. It would mean the labels could only be displayed if the products are “derived from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States”.

It is an initiative under President Biden’s goals to promote local competition as part of commitments under an action plan for a fairer and more competitive meat and poultry industry.

“The increased clarity and transparency provided by this proposed change would prevent consumer confusion and help ensure that consumers understand where their food comes from,” the government body said in a statement.

Under current rules, the voluntary labels can be displayed on products derived from animals that have been imported to the US and slaughtered locally, and also on meat that has been imported and repackaged or further processed in the US.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said: “American consumers expect that when they buy a meat product at the grocery store, the claims they see on the label mean what they say. These proposed changes are intended to provide consumers with accurate information to make informed purchasing decisions.”

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Proposals for the US origin labelling changes stem from a review launched by the USDA in 2021, including a consumer survey that revealed people found the current system “misleading”.

Supporting documentation for a product under the new rules would need to be filed with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

The new regulation has been put out for feedback within a 60-day window.

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