ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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USDA and FDA Propose General Principles for Food Standards

Comments due August 19, 2005

New York, May 23, 2005

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued a joint proposed rule to establish a set of general principles for food standards that define what a given food product is, its name, and the ingredients used in the manufacture of the food. As the two agencies responsible for ensuring that food labels are truthful and not misleading (FSIS regulates the labeling of meat and poultry products, while FDA regulates the labeling of nearly all other foods), FSIS and the FDA use standards to ensure that products sold under particular names have the characteristics expected by consumers.

Prior feedback from industry has encouraged FSIS and the FDA to establish general principles or a fundamental philosophy for reviewing food standards and revising them, and to work together to develop consistent food standards regulations.

"Today's action starts us down the road on a set of general principles that mark a significant step toward modernizing food standards," said Acting FSIS Administrator Barbara J. Masters. "The rule will likely encourage the development of food products with better nutritional profiles and stimulate innovations in food processing technology. The rule, if adopted, will allow both agencies to better utilize resources to better protect public health."

According to a May 20, 2005, Federal Register notice, the proposed general principles will establish the criteria that the agencies will use in considering whether a petition to establish, revise, or eliminate a food standard will be the basis for a proposed rule. In addition, each agency may propose to establish, revise, or eliminate a food standard on its own initiative or may propose revisions to a food standard in addition to those a petitioner has requested.

All written comments should be submitted by August 19, 2005 to:

FSIS Docket Clerk – Docket # 95-051P
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
Room 102, Cotton Annex
300 12 th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20250

All comments submitted in response to this proposal, as well as research and background information used by FSIS in developing this document, will be available for public inspection in the FSIS Docket Room and on the agency’s website at

To read the proposed general principles and for more information on submitting comments, download the Federal Register notice here.

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