Which labels are regulated by the USDA?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for regulating the food industry and enforcing labeling requirements to ensure the safety of consumers. Since food labels create a form of transparency between the manufacturer and the consumer, the information they include must be accurate and comprehensive. Depending on the nature of the food product, there are different levels of labeling regulation to comply with:

Organic goods

The ‘organic’ label is one of the most regulated label types by the USDA, requiring certain criteria to be met before the claim can be made on packaging. The regulations prohibit the use of any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), as well as ensuring that any antibiotics or growth chemicals are not used during the raising of animals. These standards are set by the National Organic Program (NOP) and the nationwide standardization allows consumers to make more environmentally friendly choices about the origin of their food.

Meat and poultry

In order to give consumers confidence that the meat or poultry they buy has met the USDA’s quality and safety requirements, their Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) regulates the ‘Inspected and Passed’ label which is designed for meat and poultry products. When seeing the label, consumers can be sure that the contents of the packaging has undergone thorough inspections at various stages of the production process. From the initial slaughtering of an animal all the way through to the packing of the goods, high standards of safety are essential when it comes to meat and poultry products so the additional level of regulation is paramount.

Grass-Fed label

The Grass-Fed label provides transparency for consumers who are only willing to purchase meat products from animals raised in natural environments. The USDA regulates this label which helps to maintain the trustworthiness of claims, requiring transparency from providers and allowing consumers to make informed decisions. The Grass-Fed label informs shoppers that the animals had access to pasture throughout their lives, living off a primary diet of grass and forage rather than grain-based food.


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