Monday, March 5, 2012

Nutritional Labels on Meats

You know those “Nutritional Facts” labels you see on packaged foods? Starting on January first of this year the USDA began requiring them on ground meats and ground poultry as well. Labels will also be required on packages of 40 of the most popular cuts of raw meat and poultry (such as chicken thighs and sirloin steaks), unless the store chooses to post the nutritional information conspicuously in the store instead.

The new labels on meats show the total number of calories, the total grams of fat, and the grams of saturated fat in the product. Ground meats that have a “lean percentage statement” such as “85% lean” must also list the percentage of fat. By the way, you may be surprised to learn that a product that is labeled as 85% lean (and thus by definition contains 15% fat) actually contains less than 20% protein. The rest of the “lean” portion of the product is water. And that means that more than half of the calories in 85% lean ground beef still come from fat.

The move to put nutritional labels on meats is part of the USDAs campaign to provide consumers with accurate and useful information about the food products they buy. Check out the new labels the next time you shop.

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