Posted on October 14, 2019 by Sustainable Food News

Feds extend comment period on nitrate/nitrite labeling

USDA petitioned to prohibit statements 'uncured' and 'no nitrate or nitrite added' on processed meats

The USDA said Friday it is extending the comment period by 30 days for a petition submitted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) urging the agency to prohibit the statements “Uncured” and “No Nitrate or Nitrite Added” on meats processed using non-synthetic sources of nitrate and nitrite, such as celery powder or sea salt.

The CSPI petition, which was submitted on Aug. 29 and posted, requests that the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) amend its labeling regulations to prohibit the statements “No Nitrates or Nitrites 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 a front-of-package declaration – “Nitrates or nitrites added” – and minimize levels of residual nitrate, nitrite, and nitrosamines in meat processed with nitrates or nitrites, regardless of source.

The petition also requests that ingredients used as a source of nitrates and nitrites be declared as such in the product labeling, such as “Celery powder (source of nitrates or nitrites for curing)” and that FSIS take additional steps to minimize levels of residual nitrates and nitrites in these products.

The comment period for the CSPI petition was scheduled to close on Nov. 12. However, the petition has generated significant interest from stakeholders, the USDA said. The new comment period closing date is Dec. 12.

Submit comments online via the Federal eRulemaking portal here. All comments submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the agency name and identification number FSIS-2019-0022.

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