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Nutrition labels for meat now mandatory

POSTED: Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 4:12pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- They say "ignorance is bliss," but when it comes to the nutritional value of your meat that won't be the case anymore.

The USDA now requires food labels on all cuts of meat and not just the prepackaged items.

"The real change as far as I can tell is that it's got to go on the individually packaged things," Dr. Suzy Weems, with the Texas Dietetic Association said.  

Dr. Weems believes the federal mandate is the result of consumer pressure, because the more information, the better the choices.

"I think it's very important that they have the label there so that they can begin to get information about what is in that food and then they can make their choices," She said. 

While the new labeling is a luxury for consumers, if the mandate goes from the federal level to the state level, it could cause problems for local businesses.

"If we were forced to do that, it would just be a major cost for getting that fulfilled," Sondra Waits, co-owner of Waco Custom Meats, Inc. said.

As a third generation Waco meat company, Waco Custom Meats, Inc. ships their products all over Central Texas to local, popular restaurants, and the nutrition label mandate is one more cost they have to shift to customers.

"It's all going to filter down to the restaurants, and the restaurants I deal with are all the privately owned restaurants. They're already struggling and just one more thing is going to be that much more difficult," Waits said.

Mass produced items that are shipped to multiple stores already have nutrition labels. Right now, Waits said it will only be a matter of time before the new mandate takes effect for locally owned and operated businesses.  

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