USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has a final rule amending the federal meat and poultry products inspection regulations to allow nutrient-content claims in meat and poultry products. This action will help consumers maintain healthful diets by providing information to use when making product choices. The rule becomes effective Jan. 1, 2008; however, voluntarily adoption of the rule's can begin earlier.

This will impact such products as fresh pork sausage, ground beef and turkey ham. According to the standard, manufacturers will be able to use approved ingredients to achieve a nutrient content claim, such as "low fat" and "reduced sodium."

Reductions in fat, cholesterol and sodium are the most likely candidates. The rule also makes current nutrient-content labeling requirements more useful, providing consumers with a wider variety of healthful products that are accurately labeled.

The final rule is available in the Federal Register and online on the FSIS Web site at: